Even before Star Wars: The Acolyte had been made available for public viewing, the series was scoring negative reviews from users across multiple platforms, confirming the old adage that no one hates Star Wars as much as Star Wars fans. In the weeks since the series has premiered, the series has continued to amass scatching reviews from users, though series creator Leslye Headland confirmed that not only did she anticipate such a response, but that she isn’t at all bothered by it. While some of these negative reactions are seemingly done in good faith, The Acolyte is clearly the most recent target of the trend in the last few years of trolls attempting to overwhelm movies and TV series that have diverse characters or progressive themes.

“Everybody knows what review bombing is like. Truly when the show first came out, my publicist was like, ‘OK, with the review…’ I was like, ‘Does anybody take that seriously anymore?'” Headland confirmed to Collider. “I understand the point of it, which is that the average viewer would look at the site and say, ‘Oh, the user review is really low.’ But I think that, if you’re in the Star Wars fandom, I think you already know what review bombing is.”

She continued, “So I guess if you’re totally new to the fandom and you’re considering watching the show, it could affect you. But I also think that my work in the past has been very word-of-mouth anyway, so I don’t know if it … I think that because, behind the scenes, we all know what it is — it’s not that it’s not concerning — but I think it’s pretty expected. I would say.”

One of the first major instances of audiences review bombing a project before its release was the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, with its first trailer earning a tremendous number of “thumbs down” votes. The film even contained a joke mocking people who decried the female-led revival.

In 2019, even with the massive success of virtually every entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe among fans, the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel became such a major target for trolls that review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes even had to change its policies for user reviews, requiring users to confirm they purchased a ticket for the film before offering an opinion.

Confirming Headland’s point, review bombing has become so commonplace among any piece of media that doesn’t meet the approval of the broadest audiences imaginable that these incidents hardly even register with anyone anymore.

New episodes of Star Wars: The Acolyte premiere on Disney+ on Tuesdays.

What do you think of the filmmaker’s remarks? Contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter or on Instagram to talk all things Star Wars and horror!


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