I understand the compulsion in geeky fans to work their hardest to take complete ownership of the things they love. For the most part, this involves physically owning those things. Sometimes you buy a copy of the movie or comic book or television series you’re into, and that’s that. You’ve taken ownership, and can enjoy your passion for that material at your leisure.
Sometimes, however, that’s not enough. Maybe you’ll want to play a video game (like the new Batman: Arkham Origins), or get some action figures to play with on your desk (like all the Star Wars and Marvel and DC action figures on my desk). And sometimes you even want more than that. You get things like books, further adventures, new comics, radio dramas, lunch boxes, vinyl stickers for your car, holiday specials, Ewok adventures ...
You want more, and you get more. Sometimes you carry a pen shaped like Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver in your pocket. Or maybe you have so much passion for a thing that you still can’t get enough. You need something more immersive. You visit Universal Orlando to get a look at Hogwarts and drink butterbeer. Or you take a ride on a Starspeeder 1000 at Disney parks’ Star Tours attraction and visit places like Endor, Hoth and Coruscant.
For some of us, we take our ownership for something we love and channel it into passion to share it with others. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to find someone who hasn’t seen the Star Wars movies and is willing to let me share them with them for their first time. There’s nothing quite as amazing experiencing your favorite thing vicariously through the eyes of someone who’s never witnessed it before.
In my view, those are all positive ways to take ownership of the geek properties we love. But there’s a growing habit to try and take too much ownership in those things. Perhaps the worst offenders are Internet denizens who love things so much that they start to hate them, and prescribe everything they can think of to make things “better.”
Too often, we hear about people who have no control over the process, yet feel like they have the right to tell creators how to do their jobs. In the world of Star Wars, there was an active movement to get Christopher Nolan to direct Episode VII. Personally, I can’t think of a more humorless and tone-deaf choice. When J.J. Abrams was hired, people started signing petitions to request that he follow an idiotic batch of “rules” that defines Star Wars in their own narrow view.
It’s one thing to voice an opinion because you love something so much that you want more of it to be even better; it’s another thing to make demands that filmmakers and creators bend to your will. Their job is to fulfill their vision, tell a great story, appeal to a broad audience and, yes, make as much money for their employers as possible. Their job is not to listen to every angry fanboy on the Internet tell them how to do their job. Look at how well that worked out for Snakes on a Plane.
As fans, we don’t get a say in the creation of our favorite stories until we decide whether or not we want to spend our money on it. That’s where our input begins and ends.
We’d do well to remember that. Instead of agonizing over who has or hasn’t been cast in the newest movie, or whether someone will follow the script we’ve got locked into our heads, we just need to sit back, relax and enjoy the things we love.
Bryan Young is the editor-in-chief of BigShinyRobot.com.