Originally Posted On Patreon: February 12, 2019
Quote Source: Who the heck is Ben Solo?
Fandom’s Ben Solo is just a reskinned Finn.
There, I said it.
Actually, I’ve been saying it for years and so have many other people in the Star Wars fandom who have seen the way that fandom claims to love Kylo as a villain while the majority of the fandom writes/treats him like a reskinned version of Finn.
I’m not surprised though.
Fandom has long been a space where “good” characters of color – like Scott McCall (Teen Wolf), Finn (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), or Sam Wilson (Captain America: Winter Soldier) – are always either brushed off for being “too boring” or vilified for their goodness.
I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t remember the last time I saw someone hating on Captain America or Superman because they were too good or using their goodness to justify focusing their fannish energy or attention on a white male villain.
No one said that they cared about Hydra Trash Party because of their lack of interest in good guys like Steve and Bucky. No one obsesses over Lex Luthor specifically because they can’t relate to Superman’s kindness.
Once again, that dubious honor is bestowed upon characters of color exclusively.
It’s racist for fandom to look at Scott McCall – a devoted son, teenage werewolf alpha, and lacrosse player – and assume that he’s not relatable because he’s too good.
(Miss me with that “but he’s not a character of color” nonsense because even though the showrunners didn’t write Scott as a character of color, the fandom sure did treat him like the only thing they could see was Tyler Posey’s Latinidad was shining through his light brown skin.)
It’s racist for fandom to reject Finn because he’s too good even as they vilify him for made-up behaviors. (This includes saying he’s harassed Rey by holding her hand in The Force Awakens, calling him a compulsive liar, and accusing him being abusing Rey/the FinnRey relationship being abusive in part because he holds her back.) It’s also racist to claim that Finn isn’t loved because he’s so boring in his goodness while… rewriting Kylo Ren to be Finn 2.0 right down to their actual first meeting on Jakku.
This is racist.
It is flat out racist of folks in fandom to write off decent characters of color for being boring or for being “too good” only to turn around and slap that goodness on white villain or anti-hero.
When folks – fans of color, mostly – talk about the fact that fandom is more interested in redeeming and rewriting villainous or anti-heroic white male characters, one thing usually happens. It’s a staid response.
“We just like villains because they’re more interesting.”
It happened when Black and non-Black Latinx Star Wars fans talked about the ridiculous amount of Hux/Kylo stories in fandom or the fandom’s hyper-fixation on Hux as a character. Folks wrote meta upon meta assuring us that the real reason why fandom loved Hux was because he appealed to their Id because he’s just such a nasty villain and blah blah blah…
But they were writing college AUs where he’s a prissy and ginger Arthur-From-Inception clone. They gave him a cat. They love writing stories and drawing fan art of him crying because he has so many feelings.
They blank-slated the hell out of him until there’s almost nothing recognizable about the character as he’s actually portrayed in canon.
Same goes for Kylo Ren.
Between the Hux/Kylo and Rey/Kylo fandoms, he’s been turned into a heroic figure. He’s a sensitive soft-boy that deserves all the hugs.
Real life monsters wish they had spin-teams as thorough as Kylo’s because they’ve literally made Kylo’s violence towards Rey, his act of patricide, and his eager indulgence in fascism… someone else’s fault.
The Star Wars fandom pretty much metaphorically defanged two villainous characters that had the potential to the most realistic and distressing villains across the franchise and then had the nerve to claim that the reason these dudes are so popular was because… they are villains.
And fandom loves villains.
Meanwhile, you know –
Characters of color who are somehow in the way of white characters get vilified by fandom more thoroughly than any white villain ever is in the same spaces.
The MCU fandom was full of people who demonized Sam Wilson for being an inadequate replacement for Bucky Barnes.
When Captain America: Civil War came out, headcanon posts abounded that rewrote Sam as outright abusive to Bucky – stealing Bucky’s prosthetic, triggering his PTSD, and generally being toxic to him – stemming from the characters’ playful beef in the film.
(In one recent and simultaneously anti-Black and antisemitic case, there was a headcanon post where Sam tricks Bucky, headcanoned as Jewish, into getting baptized. I’ll post a link here when I find it, but I needed y’all to know it exists.)
The Teen Wolf fandom to this day still leaps at the chance to hate on Scott. He’s “too good”, he’s “too boring”, he “assaulted Derek and is basically an abuser”. They also dedicated a ton of time into turning resident magical negro Alan Deaton into a shady villain who’s bad because he… didn’t help Derek Hale attain ultimate alpha status or some shit.
The same fandom ignores that Derek Hale is one van with blacked out windows away from being the villain in a Lifetime movie and has actively hurt a shit ton of the teenaged characters in the show.
And then there’s Finn.
The Star Wars fandom hates Finn.
The only thing that the fandom seems to hate more?
Admitting that the hatred stems from anti-Black racism and a general disappointment that the last Skywalker is such a damn disappointment.
We’ve covered all of the wild and worrying reasons the fandom has given for hating on Finn. We’ve even covered how the fandom takes Finn’s everything and layers it onto Kylo Ren like it’s a particularly shitty video game mod.
It is particularly painful to see people who actively and continuously hate Finn for being a good guy apply his goodness to the franchise villain.
It is painful, and it is racist.
I saw someone today outright say that the Rey/Kylo fandom doesn’t have a racism issue and like… that’s the thing.
That fandom is a racism issue.
It was literally born from anti-Black racism and a refusal to see Black people and characters as worthy of humanity and non-objectifying desire.
This reskinning is just a part of that.