Actor Simon Pegg (Ready Player One, Mission: Impossible - Fallout) loves Star Wars as much as the next person, but he's also wise enough to realize that at the end of the day, it's just a series of movies. While he didn't always feel this way, he recently opened up to Now This about the toxicity of fandoms while promoting Fallout.
In particular, he touched on the intense backlash against the character of Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The CGI character played by Ahmed Best came under fire for being too silly and claims were made that he was a racist charicature of Caribbean stereotypes.
Jar Jar is a member of the Gungans, a water-dwelling species that lives in an Atlantean city beneath the waves of Naboo. And while his character proves to be an essential ally to Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), he was pretty much universally-hated by Star Wars fans.
As a result of this, Ahmed Best's career suffered and he nearly committed suicide.
"I feel so ashamed of the fact that there was actually a human victim in that," Pegg said during his interview. "I think most people were regarding Jar Jar Binks like he was a real creature and wailing on him for being annoying, or whatever, or not liking him. But there was a person behind that. And I read that, and just thought, 'Christ, I'm one of those people,' and it makes me feel awful."
Given his love of the franchise, Pegg got to play the role of Unkar Plutt, the jowled and surly alien in The Force Awakens, who gives Rey food portions in exchange for valuable junk on Jakku. While on the subject of the modern franchise, he talked about the online backlash to Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, which drove Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico) off of social media.
"There's no diplomacy in that, there's no empathy," he said. "We're becoming very, very insular as human beings. We're becoming very self-driven, selfist; our opinion, our needs, our wants. I feel sorry for Kelly Marie Tran because she just was in a film, a f*cking film. That's all it is. None of it matters, none of it."
He finished off with a simple, yet wise piece of advice:
"It would nice if everyone got on and stopped being so aggressive."