Avondale Estates resident says he received threats after ‘Last Jedi’ petition went viral
Editor’s note: This story contains some spoilers about “The Last Jedi.” You’ve been warned.
Henry Walsh did not like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and started a petition to strike the movie from the official “Star Wars” canon, mostly as a joke and to blow off steam.
But the Avondale Estates resident was shocked when the Change.org petition garnered over 35,000 signatures.
His sister told him the petition was going viral in a voice message left on his phone at 3 a.m. Because his name is on the petition, it made its way into several news articles.
“One person said he wanted to and I quote, ‘Rape me.’ It has not been pretty,” he said.
He shared one of the messages with Decaturish which is too vulgar to be republished here.
Walsh’s beef with the film is one that many fans share, namely that the film didn’t answer some of the questions raised in “The Force Awakens.”
But Walsh said he didn’t expect Disney to care about his petition and said the petition itself was written in a tongue-in-cheek style.
“Episode VIII was a travesty,” the petition says. “It completely destroyed the legacy of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi. It destroyed the very reasons most of us, as fans, liked Star Wars. This can be fixed. Just as you wiped out 30 years of stories, we ask you to wipe out one more, the Last Jedi. Remove it from canon, push back Episode IX and re-make Episode VIII properly to redeem Luke Skywalker’s legacy, integrity, and character.”
Walsh said he understands this isn’t going to happen.
“Of course Disney’s not going to do that,” he said. “That would be insane.”
Walsh said he tried to rein it in, telling people to devote their energies to helping someone who needed it and reminding them of the petition’s humorous intentions. That made things even worse.
“The people supporting the petition decided I was a sell out and Disney had bought me off,” he said. “I wish Disney had bought me off. I could use the money.”
Walsh has had a tough year. An accident left him wheelchair bound and he moved to Avondale Estates to find treatment for his condition and get back on his feet. He said when he saw the movie – the longest “Star Wars” film ever made – he was in physical pain due to sitting up the whole time.
After the film, he was venting online when someone suggested he write the petition as Professor Walsh, a persona he used when he wrote for the “Star Wars” fan site, “Ask a Jedi.”
“I was hired to be controversial, so we created the Professor Walsh persona, which is like if you take me and ratchet me up to 11,” he said. “Professor Walsh was always highly critical and aggressive in a critique.”
He said when he created the petition, “At the time I was really frustrated with the film. It was, ‘Hey, let’s do this. It will be great. We’ll get 20 or 30 people and it’s gonna be a laugh and that’s it.'”
But not everyone got the joke, he said.
“Funny thing about ideas on the internet,” he said. “It seems, not everyone realizes things aren’t supposed to be super serious.”