Over this past weekend, the rivalry between cult writers Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams escalated via social networking platforms following the announcement that Abrams had been chosen to direct the newest Star Wars movie. The conflict was precipitated by a seemingly innocuous tweet from Whedon, which read…
Abrams, in an apparent lack of appreciation for Mr. Whedon’s sarcastic remarks, soon followed up with:
To which Whedon replied:
After a few more caustic quips shared via twitter, Whedon replied to Abrams’ critique of his short lived – yet highly popular – shows Dollhouse and Firefly via Facebook. In his retort, he listed all of Abrams’ equally short-lived and otherwise unsuccessful television series, including Undercovers, What About Bryan, and Six Degrees with specific notes regarding how low the show’s ratings and DVD sales were. He ended his entry with the statement “maybe if you spend less time composing music for your shows and more time concentrating on good writing, they wouldn’t have been cancelled.”
Naturally, the feud wasn’t limited to Whedon and Abrams themselves. Both writers have passionate cult followings, and it wasn’t long before their throngs of fans jumped into the fray. The popular website Deviant Art was soon flooded with artistic renderings of Patrick Stewart dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Chewbacca, and even Princess Leia. Brazen YouTube members uploaded several episodes of the aforementioned network flops of Abrams with comments along the lines of “if any of these shows made enough money for you to hire a lawyer and sue me, bring it on.”
But the Abrams fans were equally active. Referring to themselves as the J-Squareds, they took it upon themselves to flood websites like Memebase and 4chan with anti-Whedon memes. And the conflict eventually escalated into violence after an Abrams fan got into a heated argument with someone referring to themselves as a “Browncoat” and gave him a bloody nose using “moves [he] learned in that one Tae Kwon Do class [his] mother took him to that one time”.
Following the incident, both men agreed to a truce and asked their fans to back down from one another. “The last thing either Abrams or Whedon want is for their fans to get violent and start attacking one another” read a joint statement from publicists representing the popular writers. “Both of them are urging fans to handle themselves in a respectable manner. Neither Abrams nor Whedon want their fanbase to be mistaken for Stephanie Meyers or E.L James admirers. That would just make everyone look bad.”