Star Wars Aftermath series author, Chuck Wendig, has been fired by Marvel Comics. Wendig announced today that they have removed him from Star Wars: Shadow of Vader #4 and #5 because of the negative and vulgar responses he receives and responds to on social media. Wendig is responsible for 2015's Star Wars: Aftermath, which was part of the first stories in the newly established Star Wars Expanded Universe, which led up to the release of The Force Awakens. The author also included a gay lead character in the story, which led to a whole mess on social media for Wendig.
Chuck Wendig started to get a bunch of harassment on social media after the release of Aftermath, and instead of ignoring it, he chose to engage it, which often made matters a lot worse. However, he has a right to defend himself and for what he believes. With that being said, Wendig seems pretty calm about getting fired. The author isn't sure if Lucasfilm had a hand in his firing as well, or if it was just Marvel Comics. He explains.
"Today I got the call. I'm fired. Because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that's what Mark, the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part. My understanding over this call was that this was a Marvel decision, not an LFL decision, but I can't really confirm that. The editor said he had made the call. He seemed genuinely upset at my tweets and profanity, so maybe that's accurate. And again, that's his right to do so."
Chuck Wendig is sad about having to leave the Marvel Comics division of Star Wars books, which is understandable. The author is very open about his political views and has no problem starting discussions on social media over his beliefs. Marvel has confirmed that he was fired, but they would not comment any further on the discussion. Regardless, the firing of Wendig is going to cause quite a stir on social media and will go a long way for followers of the comicsgate controversy. Wendig had this to say.
"If they honestly feel that my presence will damage the book, I don't want that. I want the book to shine, and artists like Juanan Ramirez and Greg Smallwood to do their amazing thing. Artists like that are gods in my mind, so I'm happy to not distract from their literal magic. But it does set a troubling precedent. One we've seen already - James Gunn, Jessica White, and so on - of folks fired because they riled up the wasp's nest of comicsgate."
The mention of James Gunn is an interesting one. Chuck Wendig might be looking at his firing from a freedom of speech angle, but Disney did not want to have anything to do with some tweets that joked about rape and pedophilia, which is strange because they hired Victor Salva, a convicted pedophile, but that's a whole other story. Wendig's social media seems to have brought too much negativity to Marvel Comics, but should he have been fired for that? If so, where do we draw the line? Ultimately, Marvel did not feel comfortable with Wendig on board any further.
Chuck Wendig believes that everything will get worse before it gets better, and he may be right. But for all we know, he could have been fired for other reasons. Until Marvel Comics releases a statement, we're left in the dark. Regardless of where you stand politically, this could be seen as dangerous time for freedom of expression, or it could be keeping politics separate from Star Wars and other comics, or it could be something else altogether. You can read the author's lengthy social media thread on the matter below, thanks to Chuck Wendig's Twitter account.
So, here’s a thing that has happened – I just got fired from Marvel. Taken off issues 4 and 5 of SHADOW OF VADER, and taken off an as-yet-unannounced SW book.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
This might be a long thread, so apologies in advance.
(I hesitate to talk about this, because honestly, it gives the Worst Possible People a win, something they’ve wanted for a while. But I also feel like I’ve long held to honesty and forthrightness, and I don’t feel like lying when people realize I’m not on these books anymore.)— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
To rewind a little bit, when SW: AFTERMATH came out, I assume most know but maybe you don’t, I put some ahh, elements in there (LGBT characters) that were not received well by a certain subset of fandom.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
That resulted in both a negative review campaign, found across various FB groups and other Worst Places on the Internet, that began mounting the very minute the book dropped online.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
I was literally at a midnight release of the book, and when I got done, there were already a pile of one-star reviews piling up – which seemed strange, obviously. And scary, too. I didn't understand what was happening at the time.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
(And as a caveat, obviously I recognize that yes, some people just don’t like the book for the Usual Reasons, and people who hold those reasons are not to be lumped in with the more septic side of fandom. Tl;dr see also TLJ reviews.)— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
I also started receiving TONS of harassment – harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal. I didn't call a lot of it out or even highlight, but it was there, a sort of... constant background noise.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
To conclude: this is really quite chilling. And it breaks my heart. I am very sad, and worried for the country I live in, and the world, and for creative people all around. Courage to you all.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018
I have a dire fear this is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
P.S. Vote in November like your life depends on it. Because it just might.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018