Star Wars Fans Need to Learn from Robert Pattinson Fans

One needn’t expend too many clicks to see how toxic a vocal minority of Star Wars fandom has become. Whether they’re harassing the filmmakers and stars to the point of twitter deletion, or running a campaign to remake The Last Jedi in a way that they feel is more suited to the brand (Chandler voice: Could it be more suited to the brand??), these entitled sad sacks are the antithesis of what Star Wars has always stood for. And while it would be best to just ignore these louts for what they are, letting the passage of time erode their archaic mentality to dust, I just had to drop a few words on it. You see, their behavior has led to many a respected mind declaring that fandom on the whole is a busted institution. An idea with more demerits than merits. A few weeks ago, I’d have said that they are not too far from the truth, but now I disagree with this assertion wholeheartedly. Why? Because of Robert Pattinson. 

Last week I was fortunate to catch Damsel, the alternative western from David & Nathan Zellner, starring none other than Robert Pattinson. I adored the movie, which featured a fantastic performance from Pattinson, and tweeted the following:

Almost immediately, a previously unknown segment of the online population emerged: “Robert Pattinson Twitter.” Within minutes, this tweet about Damsel, which didn’t even mention Pattinson by name, was being liked and retweeted to an unexpected degree. At the time of this writing it has been liked 103 times and retweeted 52 times. The bulk of these interactions come from Robert Pattinson-based fan accounts with names such as “Rob’s Stray Dog,” “Pattinson360,” and “Robert Pattinson Army.”

In response to this surprise outpouring of positivity (gasp! Can you imagine?!), I sent a follow up tweet:

Once again, the Pattinson fans emerged. Even quicker this time, and with more enthusiasm, since this second tweet mentioned the beloved star by name. This tweet currently sits at 196 likes and 58 retweets from many of the same fan accounts as well as some new ones. This time around I also received a few responses. Check them out:

Now it would be unfair to leave out some of the responses that weren’t as glowing, but I think you’ll find that even these can barely be described as “clapback,” so much as “polite corrections.” It seems a few fans took issue with my referencing them to be “Twilight kids.”

Can you believe it? I can’t. Twitter fandom doesn’t seem to work this way right? Like, ever. Shouldn’t this have started a firestorm of blocks, subtweets, invocations of Hitler, and threats of murder and rape? I must be missing something, right? Right?!?

Wrong! As I continue to dig through my interactions with Robert Pattinson twitter, I can’t find a single instance of behavior that could be categorized as toxic. It seems that Robert Pattinson fandom has taken to heart the lesson espoused by Rose in The Last Jedi: 

“That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.”

If ever the a thesis of the entire Star Wars franchise could be summed up in a single quote, this is it. In a way, it could be argued that toxic Star Wars fandom has turned to the dark side, while Robert Pattinson fandom has held fast to the creed of the Jedi. This feels doubly true when you think about the ire that Twilight’s mere existence drew from so many corners of the Internet. Yet even in the face of mockery and dismissal, Robert Pattinson fans refused to shut it down with their own toxicity, instead choosing to drown it all out with positivity. And it worked. They were correct. They won. 

Take a look at the critical consensus for Cosmopolis, Good Time, The Rover, and Damsel to see. Pattinson has shed the unfair stereotypes lobbed at him, not by responding to the haters, but by creating work of value. Check out Andy’s review of Damsel, by the way. He says it’s time we embrace Pattinson for what he is, and not what so many wordsmiths want him to be. He’s right. 

In summation, it wrote this little piece of fluff to illustrate how awesome a fandom can be when it’s based not in entitlement, but in, well, fandom. Also, I figured that Robert Pattinson fans would retweet it.

Author: Dan Scully

Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.

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