The former The Star Wars Show host Peter Townley, who hosted the show from 2016 to 2018, recently decried Star Wars being used in the culture war.
Townley appeared on the YouTube channel Around the Galaxy where he made his comments about Star Wars and the culture war to the show’s host Pete Fletzer.
Townley explained, “The thing that bothers me though is that it’s one thing to like or dislike Star Wars just like as a fan. Everyone has their likes or dislikes or wants to play armchair quarterback and it could have been this way or the other.”
He continued, “The really bad faith stuff that I don’t like is when Star Wars is being framed as part of some sort of ongoing culture war, which is essentially just real world political ideas trying to grab onto Star Wars, something that people know a lot about, and pull them towards their ideology using it.”
Townley then points to a specific tactic he takes issue with, “You know a very old political tactic is to say that things were better before. Things were better before and modernity is corrupt and has dragged things down. And we need to go back to the glorious past so that things can be better. And lots of very, very ugly political movements have used this rhetoric.”
“Star Wars is a very easy target for this because there are people who our age and somewhat younger who have all this nostalgia for the original trilogy and might be very swayed by someone making the argument that, ‘You know Star Wars was better in the 70s and 80s and the people who are making it now just don’t get it, man,'” he asserted.
Townley then makes it specifically clear he’s only decrying one side, “And that’s someone’s entry point in trying to convince you that modernity and the things that go along with it, all of the other ideas that have changed since then about diversity and inclusiveness. That those are the things that are bad.”
He concluded saying, “I’m very disappointed to see people not only like stirring up that bad faith argument, but for the rest of us in so easily being baited into participating in it and amplifying their voices. Now, I try just not to say anything about it and just go, ‘Oh god it’s another one of these.'”
Townley’s comments are a complete and utter joke. The fact that he actually believes what he’s saying is the real disappointment. Bounding Into Comics has chronicled numerous cases over the years of Disney, Lucasfilm, and the people they hire injecting their political ideology into Star Wars.
One of the most obvious examples is what Lucasfilm did to Lando Calrissian in the Solo film.
While promoting the film, Solo writer Jonathan Kasdan was asked if Lando was pansexual. He told MSN, “I would say yes.”
He then added, “There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee’s [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality. I mean, I would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie. I think it’s time, certainly, for that, and I love the fluidity ― sort of the spectrum of sexuality that Donald appeals to and that droids are a part of.”
“He doesn’t make any hard and fast rules. I think it’s fun. I don’t know where it will go,” he concluded.
Kasdan doubled down on this on Twitter writing, “Sorry to have brought identity/gender politics into… NOPE. Not sorry AT ALL ’cause I think the GALAXY George gave birth to in ’77 is big enough for EVERYONE: straight, gay, black, white, brown, Twi’lek, Sullustan, Wookiee, DROID & anything inbetween. #droidrights #weAREsentient”
Star Wars and Lucasfilm has since doubled down on Lando’s pansexuality a number of times since the film released.
Most recently Lando was featured as an LGBTQ+ character on one of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars Pride variant covers.
Interestingly enough, the original Lando Calrissian actor Billy Dee Williams is perplexed by the idea of a pansexual Lando.
Williams even criticized Lucasfilm and Solo for making Lando pansexual. He told Rolling Stone, “I think that’s the reason they didn’t have the success they could have had.”
He went on to add, “Because they were going for something that was topical, instead of an adventure that’s far beyond those questions. If you’re talking about this huge, incredible story, why lock yourself into this tiny moment between a character like Lando and his robot friend?”
Another example is Star Wars author Daniel Jose Older’s creation of the character Taka Jamoreesa for the novel Last Shot.
Older explained his motivations for creating the non-binary character had nothing to do with Star Wars and everything to do with real world political ideas.
In a TikTok video, Older stated, “Violentfemme2 asks about Taka Jamoreesa, hot shot pilot, aspiring scoundrel, great taste in music from my novel Last Shot. Taka also has a pet worrt named Korrg.”
He continued, “Things that were important to me when writing this character and keep in mind there is no one right way to write people of a certain demographic. This was my particular take for this character, Taka Jamoreesa.”
Older then detailed exactly why he created the character the way he did, “I wanted to show that they were a person of color because there are very few non-binary people and even fewer non-binary people of color in the media.”
He added, “I wanted them to be able to say their own pronouns and not have other people gender them and decide their gender from the outside. I wanted them to be clearly a human and not an alien ’cause in this particular case that was important.”
“And I wanted to show canonically Han and Lando respecting the they/them pronouns without missing a beat because they’re heroes. And real heroes respect people’s pronouns,” Older concluded.
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) January 10, 2021
So, the person who is really making the bad faith argument is Peter Townley. It’s not fans inserting political agendas into Star Wars. It’s Lucasfilm and Disney employees.
But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a former Lucasfilm and Disney employee would make such a bad faith argument when the company’s CEO Bob Chapek lied to shareholders when asked about Gina Carano’s firing earlier this year.
When asked about Carano’s firing and whether it was politically motivated, Chapek responded, ““I don’t really see Disney as characterizing itself as left leaning or right leaning. Yet, instead standing for values. Values that are universal. Values of respect. Values of decency. Values of integrity. And values of inclusion.”
He continued, “And we seek to have not only how we operate, but the content that we make reflective of the rich diversity of the world we live. And I think that’s a world we all should live in, in harmony and peace.”
However, it’s clear Disney doesn’t actually believe in those values based on the fact that they fired Carano via a press statement. They didn’t show her respect. They didn’t show her decency. They showed a complete lack of integrity. And they certainly didn’t show that they believe in inclusion either.
What do you make of Townley’s comments?