Chuck Wendig, the gregarious writer behind the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy and the recently announced Shadow of Vader comic, announced via Twitter today that he had been fired from Marvel Comics. He would be removed from Shadow of Vader starting with issue #4 and would no longer be working on another, different Marvel Star Wars project.
Wendig has been a bit controversial in the Star Wars community from the very moment he set foot into the universe. When it was announced he was going to be working on the Aftermath books, the first books set in the post-Return of the Jedi era since the shift in canon from Lucasfilm, there was a set of fans who dogged his every move.
Some were resentful at Disney for the creation of the alternate Legends universe to make room for canon that would pave the way for the upcoming films in the Disney era of Star Wars. Others focused their hatred against the fact that Wendig included women, people of color, and a same-sex relationship in the new series. This backlash pounded the reviews of the book and has been written about extensively. Much of the harassment was focused at Wendig himself via his Twitter account.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Wendig soon after his announcement today, to dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding both his departure and the incidents that preceded it. As to why so much vitriol was leveled at him, Wendig had a feeling it was largely political.
“I can’t speak precisely to why,” Wendig told SYFY WIRE, “because I’m not them — but given the tenor of a lot of the harassment, one assumes it has to do with my politics and making the work inclusive — which some people frame as me shoving politics down their throat, so to speak.”
But for as many people who complained about the inclusion he included in his work in a galaxy far, far away, many, many more responded positively.
“I’ve had myriad people reach out and tell me that they feel seen in a major storyworld like Star Wars for the first time, and that was heartening to me," he said. "It doesn’t fix that unequal history in pop culture, of course."
Wendig’s brand, so to speak, on Twitter has always been as gregarious as it was vulgar. His progressive politics were something that he wore as a badge of honor. Most recently, during the very public debate in the civic square over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Wendig made a call to eschew civility.
He further clarified that this was not the same as a call to violence:
But that didn’t stop those who had already been harassing him over the years to take these tweets as a call to violence against Trump supporters. It was written up in many conservative-leaning blogs that cover comics and nerd culture as an actual call to violence, somehow.
These tweets were from October 6th. Shadow of Vader was announced that very same weekend at New York Comic Con.
One might wonder if this negative attention in conservative media outlets was what pushed Marvel into taking this self-inflicted wound in the broader culture war. “It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part,” Wendig said on Twitter of his firing. “Basically, because I was not civil.”
Despite his penchant for vulgarity, his political views are generally mainstream and he’s viewed as an inspiration in many circles of Star Wars fandom and amongst writers. His Star Wars books, when removing reviews with a negative political agenda, are generally well-reviewed.
Wending worries that the firing has the potential to have a chilling effect in the world of writing, politics, and Twitter. “I think [the Comicsgaters] will very much be emboldened,” Wendig told us. “Why wouldn’t it? This is a victory for them, and I don’t expect they won’t savor it. Which likely portends more and worse for other creators.”
Others think this isn’t just part of the culture war, but something problematic inside of Marvel.
Regardless of the reasons, the bright side is that there are already calls for Marvel to change their mind and reinstate Wendig. When asked if he’d come back if they un-fired him, Wendig was unequivocal. “Star Wars is one of my most favorite things in the world. I am always there for Star Wars.”
As people wait to see if Marvel changes their mind, Wendig isn’t going to be resting on his laurels. “I don’t rely on comics work as income, unlike some, and my publishers have reaffirmed support, so I keep on keeping on. Next up for me is the final Miriam Black book in January, called Vultures, and a big sort of… Stephen King-y epic novel called Wanderers coming out in July.”
The first issue of Shadow of Vader is still slated to come out in early 2019.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.