A short time ago, Alex Damon of Star Wars Explained released a video criticizing the public reaction to the blaster-less Han Solo posters.
In it, Alex states:
“…everyone is acting like Disney and Lucasfilm are trying to take the wars out of Star Wars.”
In all fairness, why wouldn’t some people react this way? Let’s go over some of the past, before we let it die.
In the The Last Jedi, the audience was treated to a lecture from Rose Tico, about the weapons trade, and how evil it is. So it’s clear that the writers of the film are now using the Star Wars franchise as a vehicle to push an anti-gun agenda.
That lecture gives new light to The Force Awakens, in which the protagonist Rey fights off armed assailants through half the film with a stick. The writing of this perplexing scenario now makes much more sense in the context of the writer’s anti-gun activism.
Additionally, we can look to the overseer of Disney-era Star Wars, Kathleen Kennedy, and the history of her heavy involvement in films. For instance, Kathleen Kennedy was a producer on the 20th Anniversary E.T. The Extraterrestial DVD. In that updated film, the handguns held by police officers were digitally replaced with walkie-talkies.
Fast forward to 2008 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Red Letter Media does an interesting analysis on that franchise, comparing the number of people that Indy kills in each film:
In short, while Indiana Jones kills multiple enemies in the original three films, he only kills one person in Crystal Skull; the Indiana Jones film that Kathleen Kennedy worked on as producer.
Given this historical track record, along with the now widely known SJW agenda driven material throughout the Disney-era Star Wars franchise, it was perfectly reasonable for many to suspect that “Disney and Lucasfilm were trying to take the wars out of Star Wars.” In fact, I’m not entirely convinced that the current writing staff at Lucasfilm (or indeed many in the fanbase) are at all aware that the word “wars” appears in the title of the franchise, as I’ve written about many times here.
“What nobody was talking about or mentioning was the fact that these were international posters.”
In fact, I was talking about and mentioning the fact that these were international posters. I wrote in my original post:
Collider reported in a March 15th article, that the blaster-less posters are the international posters, which goes back to my previous update. In an article entitled, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ International Posters Get Some Noteworthy Changes. Allison Keene writes:
In the posters below, you’ll notice that the big block lettering has been removed, and replaced with a more standard logo for the movie. And instead of being identified as “Solo,” Han is now just Han. Those are fairly minor changes, and not surprising given the potential lawsuit, but there’s another noteworthy adjustment — no guns. If you’re wondering why Han looks so weird it’s because his arm was moved down and his gun taken away, resulting in a very odd pose. Qi’ra and Lando come out looking fine, though Chewie now looks like he’s having a class photo taken
Some apologists are defending these posters, by saying that they’re for international markets. According to them, European and other international markets can not show people holding guns whether real or imaginary on movie posters.
This changes nothing, because the motivation for doing this remains the same.
The international markets that don’t allow depictions of people holding guns on movie posters, are dictated by governments which are run by people who have the very same SJW mentality. In essence, Lucasfilm is appeasing foreign SJW bureaucrats.
“Not only that, but the posters being compared are from two completely different countries.”
So what? Whether or not the two posters in question are from two completely different countries or not, means less than nothing. The political motivation for removing the weapons in the Brazilian posters, is the exact same political motivation that wrote Rose Tico’s anti-gun lecture in The Last Jedi. More on that later.
“So, no poster was ever changed. The quote unquote original poster is in Spanish, and the supposedly changed poster is in Portuguese.”
The fact that one poster was in Spanish while the other was in Portuguese doesn’t serve as any kind of evidence that the posters weren’t changed, so I’m not sure why Alex would make that point. Of course they were changed. One had weapons, one didn’t. Alex contends that they changed the posters to suit different markets, but the reality is that they changed the posters to suit political agendas. More on that later. But the reasons for the change, doesn’t erase the fact that it is still a change. If I’m sitting at Photoshop, and I have a picture of Han Solo pointing a gun in a PSD file, I have to change something to get his arm to hang down without a blaster in his hand. That’s a change.
“So rest assured, this change [air quotes] has nothing to do with gun violence in the United States. It might have something to do with gun violence in Brazil, I just don’t know.”
I do know. Sometime around March 24th or 25th, I emailed Alex a link to this follow up post. In it I discuss a purported response from Disney on this matter:
Stephen M. Colbert from ScreenRant states that the blaster-less posters are specifically for Brazil:
First of all, the posters arent for the United States. They’re posters for Brazil. Brazil has had its own recent national debate over firearms, but that’s not even the reason their posters look different. Screen Rant has spoken with Disney about the posters in question and they’ve verified that the posters are specific to Brazil, and they are likely that way because Brazil is trying to push a more family-friendly image for Solo (or “Han Solo” as it’s marketed there) in that region. The posters aren’t distributed in the US, and the change has nothing to do with the gun issues in the US.
That’s really quite interesting, if that’s what Disney is claiming. Because according to an article entitled, People Are Ready to Buy Some Guns in the World’s Murder Capital, written on March 20th 2018 by David Biller at Bloomberg:
Desperate Brazilians are wondering whether they’d be better off armed, given that around 60,000 of their compatriots are killed each year. Polls show support for gun ownership gaining ground. In an election year, politicians are paying attention.
“Everyday, everywhere you look, the criminal is armed with a high-powered weapon as the citizen tries to hide,” Rogerio Peninha Mendonca, the lawmaker behind the proposal, said in an interview. “What we want is for the citizen to be more capable of defending himself.”
The idea runs counter to recent calls in the U.S. for greater gun control, as well as the global trend towards restricting access to firearms that’s seen Australia, the U.K, Canada, New Zealand and Germany tighten their laws in recent decades.
Forty-two percent of Brazilians believe gun ownership is a citizen’s right, according to a November survey by pollster Datafolha. That’s up from 30 percent four years earlier. And of the lower house lawmakers who have expressed opinions publicly, slightly more than half support the proposed legislation, according to a scoreboard maintained by Peninha’s staff.
Stephen M. Colbert at ScreenRant continues:
Second, the “changes” to the posters aren’t actually changing anything. The controversy is mostly based on the comparison of two sets of posters (example above) that appear identical other than the fact that one set features the characters with guns and the other doesn’t. Not only were these posters released at about the same time, but the posters in question are the first Solo posters for Brazil, meaning it’s impossible for them to have been “changed” as there were no previous Brazillian posters to change from. The only reason people think they were changed is because they’re comparing them to the Spanish posters, where the characters all still have blasters. The casual eye may not be able to differentiate between Spanish and Portuguese, but it’s clear they’re different languages as one movie is titled Han Solo: Una Historia de Star Wars and the other is Han Solo: Uma História de Star Wars. Other words are also different, such as the Spanish “cines” and the Portuguese “cinemas.”
Nonsense. If the posters really were specifically for Brazil, then they were changed (or customized if you prefer that word) to appease like-minded SJW bureaucrats in Brazil who oppose loosening their guns laws in the midst of a contentious public debate. The last thing they want to do, is give their political opposition potential inspiration through a movie like Solo.
It’s worth noting that Stephen M. Colbert doesn’t really supply any direct quotes or official statements from Disney, only claiming that they’ve “spoken with Disney.”
So in fact, the posters were changed to appease the same “liberal agenda” in the firearms debate in Brazil. Disney’s purported statement is questionable given the political realities of the situation. It’s possible that my email to Star Wars Explained fell into his spam folder, but I haven’t seen any corrections or updates on this matter from Star Wars Explained since.
“But even if these were American posters, I would have the same reaction, and that would be; who cares? It’s not like they’re going to go through, and remove all of the blasters from Solo digitally.”
Why not? They removed the guns in E.T. The Extraterrestrial. And 80% of the Solo film was reshot. That leaves significant room for such changes, digitally or otherwise.
Additionally, Gareth Edwards has stated that Lucasfilm ordered extensive reshoots of his version of Rogue One, because they were unhappy with the darker grittier wartime documentary style of the film. So making such changes would fall within the known spectrum of Lucafilm’s actions, if Gareth’s account is to be believed.
“To steal a joke from Wookiepedia left on my Twitter about this topic, yeah, Star Wars is rebranding itself into Star Peace. It’s absurd to make that kind of assumption based on international posters, and marketing that you clearly did not take even a second to fully research or comprehend before you cranked out a video on it.”
How about making that assumption based on the statements made by Laura Dern:
“In their minds, and in their understanding of the origin story, we know that she was a true rebel in the Resistance, and in our culture we might have called her a hippie,” Dern tells EW. “But she was longing for peace, and a revolutionary in that way, and wanted to be trained by and led by Leia, who taught her everything she knew. She wanted to come up in the ranks to support Leia’s mission, but also had this otherworldly side that does involve the Force.”
“Yeah, her primary goal was to protect the light, to protect the Force, and to keep the revolutionaries alive,” Dern tells EW. “And I think the film speaks so beautifully to that with this last image of the next generation of the Resistance, you know?”
And there was also this:
“Holdo’s homeworld, Gatalenta, is essentially a planet of space hippies, studying astrology, meditating and valuing serenity above all things.”
So how absurd is it to consider the possibility, that a franchise which creates a hippie peacenik character as a commanding vice admiral, might rebrand itself as Star Peace? After all, this new character values serenity above all things.
At one point in Alex’s video, he calls out another YouTuber for admitting that “he doesn’t know.” Yet Alex himself in his own video admits that he just doesn’t know if the posters have anything to do with gun violence in Brazil. He admonishes the other YouTuber for reacting on incomplete information, yet Alex is doing much the same in his own video without any knowledge of the political debate over guns raging in Brazil, or of the larger political agendas which cross national boundaries in our global 21st Century world. All one had to do was watch the recent Oscars to understand that the people in this industry are politically motivated in absolutely everything they do.
If you’re going to take it upon yourself as a self-appointed authority figure to lecture others about reactionary behavior, then it would behoove you to do your own research into matters outside of Star Wars. The world is a big place, and many things influence the actions of movie studios and the actions of the individuals running them; politics in particular. Failing to do this could likewise be considered irresponsible.
Alex hopes the other YouTuber learns a lesson from all of this. How magnanimous of him. But frankly the other YouTuber did nothing wrong in my opinion. He reacted to information that was given to him in an honest manner. He cautioned his viewers that the article may or may not be legit. He allowed for the possibility that he could be wrong on this. There’s nothing irresponsible about that whatsoever. In fact, offering those warnings was very responsible. He didn’t pass himself off as some know-it-all with confirmed concrete information. And many folks turn to crowds of people for research. It’s called crowdsourcing. Thousands of eyes can find more than just two. So I’m not sure what lesson he has to learn here, or indeed that Alex has any lesson to teach him. In fact it’s the other YouTuber’s raw honesty that makes his videos far more compelling to watch than listening to the recitations of well-rehearsed propagandists.
But at the end of the day, hopefully Alex learns a much needed lesson of his own here. And that lesson is that Alex has the exact same stinky brown hole as every other human being on the planet. Remember, self-appointed know-it-all authority and massive stupidity always walks hand in hand. Because a truly thinking person understands that no one on Earth knows it all. Not anyone.
And after all of that, the United States character posters end up having the same blasterless images as Jeremy from Geeks + Gamers pointed out:
Interestingly, the international Brazilian market that the blasterless posters were supposed to appeal to, performed the worst out of the Top 10 box office territories, according to the-numbers.com:
While the box office territory that performed best, had blasters in their posters, which can be read about here.