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Marvel Comics fires Star Wars writer Chuck Wendig over social media presence

Novelist and writer Chuck Wendig (Star Wars: Aftermath, Under the Empyrean Sky) announced today in a Twitter thread that he had been fired by Marvel Comics midway through work on his Shadow of Vader series and before its first issue could be released. Wendig attributed the move to online reaction to his personal social media presence.

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.

This might be a long thread, so apologies in advance.

— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018

Wendig’s first work in the Star Wars universe was 2015’s Star Wars: Aftermath, which was among the first stories in the new Star Wars Expanded Universe to be published in the lead up to The Force Awakens. Aftermath also featured a gay character as its lead, which, Wendig says in his thread, was the beginning of a wave of review bombing of the book and online harassment directed at him.

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

Wendig has since written two more Star Wars novels, the Marvel Comics adaptation of The Force Awakens and Hyperion, a comic in the main Marvel continuity. But that harassment never really went away, according to Wendig, and found renewed energy when The Last Jedi hit theaters.

Shadow of Vader, a five-issue Marvel Comics miniseries, was just announced on Oct. 5, during the Lucasfilm Publishing panel at New York Comic Con 2018. Seven days later, Wendig says, he was fired because of his social media presence, particularly on Twitter.

Basically, because I was not civil.

— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 12, 2018

Wendig has been outspoken against online harassment in general and against his own harassers specifically, writing in a 2015 blog post “If you’re upset because I put gay characters and a gay protagonist in [Star Wars: Aftermath], I got nothing for you… You’re not the Rebel Alliance. You’re not the good guys. You’re the fucking Empire, man.”

The writer is one of a hefty list of creatives working on Star Wars who have seen negative repercussions to their careers or social media presence due to online harassment. Director Rian Johnson and actors Kelly Marie Tran and John Boyega have all spoken out about being on the receiving end of harassment.

Wendig’s firing also comes three months after Marvel’s parent company, Walt Disney Studios, fired James Gunn after a far-right harassment campaign resurfaced offensive tweets from his account; and one month after Marvel unexpectedly fired another left-leaning novelist/comics writer who is often outspoken on social media, Chelsea Cain. Cain had been working on a six-issue Vision miniseries that would follow up on Marvel’s highly regarded 12-issue miniseries Vision, written by Tom King.

Polygon reached out to Marvel Comics to confirm Wendig’s account of his firing. Marvel confirmed that Wendig and the company are “parting ways,” but offered no additional comment as to why.

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