In the spirit of Mike Zeroh, I’d like to offer some of my own speculation here.
If you haven’t yet read about #ZerohGate, you can read about those details in my previous blog post here.
But some interesting clues may have been shaken out of the tree thanks to Mike Zeroh’s speculative theorizing, and Rian Johnson’s loud stupidity.
But first, a little history to preface my own theorizing.
Back in February, a suggestion arose that content in The Last Jedi screenplay was plagiarized from fan fiction. According to Scavenger’s Holocron, the user tk-603 on Tumblr apparently noticed some similarities between The Last Jedi, and fan fiction that the user had read. The fan fiction was written by someone who goes by the username streetsolo, and was written and posted only one month after The Force Awakens was released. You can read about the details on that suggestion of plagiarism in my blog post here.
My own reaction at the time that these suggestions or accusations arose, was extreme skepticism. I reasoned that it was highly unlikely that anyone from Lucasfilm would plagiarize fan fiction material, or even pay any attention to it at all. Even if Lucasfilm was bereft of good ideas, which they clearly are, they had the legal right to mine the old Extended Universe for material. And they certainly have salvaged and distorted some of the EU material for use in Disney drek. So why would they even risk potential legal action, and being defamed and disgraced in the process? The accusations didn’t make sense to me. The notion that Lucasfilm production staff would pay any attention at all to any online fan activity was kind of ridiculous to me.
But then #ZerohGate happened.
During the events of #ZerohGate, Rian Johnson posted the following adolescent brag on Twitter:
When we were in production we had a guy keeping an eye on online rumors. At some point we started using “Zeroh” as a verb. Like, *throws trash at basket, but it slips out of your hand and falls behind you* “Zeroh’d it!”
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) August 31, 2018
That was a Twitter post that Rian Johnson deleted only a day or less after its posting.
So what does this have to do with accusations of plagiarism? Well, Rian’s childish post got me thinking.
If Rian Johnson actually paid someone to “keep an eye on online rumors” during production, then suddenly the chances that Lucasfilm paid someone to “keep an eye” on online fan fiction aren’t so far fetched. Could the person who was paid to keep an eye on online rumors, also have been mining online fan fiction for ideas? Is this why Rian deleted his Twitter post only a day or less after he posted it?
And we know that Rian Johnson rewrote at least some of The Last Jedi during production from comments that he and others have made.
Did the recipient of a Saturn Award plagiarize material for The Last Jedi from fan fiction?
Only one thing is for certain; if Rian did plagiarize fan fiction content, then the truth will eventually come out, because it always does.
There’s an old saying in the private investigations industry, “Three can keep a secret, if two are dead.”
If Rian did indeed plagiarize fan fiction material then someone else within Lucasfilm knows about it, and will inevitably leak it to the public eventually. It’s only a matter of time.
John Talks provides some interesting context to this story, directly from Rian Johnson’s own words: