On Friday, the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuted to 70,000 enthusiastic fans at Star Wars Celebration and millions more online. One of those fans was Eric Butts, a Kentucky-based vlogger and filmmaker who taped his emotional reaction to the trailer in real time, only to have the video be distributed and mocked by trolls. But the fan community had his back — and the reaction video that received thousands of hate views has now received countless love notes and retweets from Star Wars enthusiasts, including Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
Butts's video was first distributed on Saturday by an anonymous Twitter user who said he had recorded it from the gaming platform Steam. "Even though this soybag deleted it, here's the video," the user tweeted, along with a 2:20 second clip of Butts reacting to the Rise of Skywalker trailer. (The full video, which runs nearly 10 minutes, can be viewed above.) That clip was picked up the following day by conservative social-media influencer Ashley St. Clair, who called it an example of how "Star Wars and super hero movie obsession culture has revealed a whole new population of undateable men," comparing the unsexiness of fan culture to cargo shorts. Her tweet (below) generated 11,000 likes and nearly 2,000 retweets. Controversial gaming journalist Ian Miles Cheong also posted the video with the comment "I'm going to cringe to death," telling his followers, "He deleted it after people made fun of him."
Star Wars and super hero movie obsession culture has revealed a whole new population of undateable men. Might be worse than men who wear cargo shorts.— Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) April 14, 2019
In truth, Butts had not tried to wipe his reaction to the Star Wars trailer from the internet. Shortly after the trailer launched, Butts posted the full video to his YouTube Channel, where 19,000 subscribers tune in for his unboxing, reaction and review videos. But because Butts's name was not attached to the original viral tweet, much of social media took the story at face value. And while some joined the negative pile-on, many more came to the vlogger’s defense.
This is just a video of a human being liking a thing and being moved by it.— Heather Anne Campbell (@heathercampbell) April 16, 2019
Ashley is afraid of someone making fun of her for a vulnerability, maybe because when she was young and things were important to her, she was mocked for it — which is why she attacks this random dude. https://t.co/G2YYtY4wzs
ATTN: to the extremely excited Star Wars fan that had to delete your reaction. Reupload that shit. Own that shit. I wish I could feel even half the excitement and love you carry for the franchise. Fuck them goddamn haters. Exactly why I don’t make my Star Wars videos public.Trash https://t.co/Jl40h8M5jh— Akasan (@akasan) April 15, 2019
Whoever this guy is please reupload this. Your genuine emotion and excitement for the franchise is something even the more diehard of fans can wish for. Don’t let jerks get to you, if you are excited you are excited. Own it. One of the best Star Wars vids pic.twitter.com/bX58W1KhkK— Dingus Bringus (@dingus_bringus) April 15, 2019
@TheEricButts reupload your video man. Don't let miserable people win. All of the people bullying wish that they could apply an ounce of the passion you have for star wars, to anything in their life.— Cory Castelan (@corycastelan) April 15, 2019
As Butts's name finally became linked to his video, the Star Wars fan community rose up to support him, posing in their cargo shorts and even campaigning to get him a Star Wars role.
For what it's worth, I felt just like you. pic.twitter.com/Udjoc1GUvW— MementoMoree (@MementoMoree) April 16, 2019
Then, the cherry (or oi-oi berry) on top: Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films and is beloved for his support of the fan community, tweeted that no one should ridicule "someone so passionate and clearly enjoying what he's seeing." He added a hashtag praising "UPFs," or "ultra-supportive fans." After a thrilled Butts directed Hamill to the uncut version of his video, the actor tweeted again, offering the vlogger the ultimate gesture of respect: Luke’s Return of the Jedi salute.
Why anyone would ridicule someone so passionate & clearly enjoying what he's seeing is beyond me. #UPFsAreTheBestFans 👍— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 15, 2019
Hi Eric- Thanks for sharing your amazing reaction to the trailer. It was inspiring to see you transported with joy in anticipation of IX. Makes what we do seem all the more worthwhile.— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 16, 2019
All the best, Mar🐫
PS: I salute you, sir: pic.twitter.com/7xOEVm3iju
Rogue One writer Gary Whitta, who has worked on Star Wars comics and the Rebels TV series, did Hamill one better by tweeting that he was already a fan of Butts' reaction videos, and making the hashtag #ILoveButts go viral.
I remember vividly when @TheEricButts posted his Rogue One trailer reaction videos. Seeing his utter joy remains one of my favorite memories from being involved with that movie. The passion of fans like Eric IS EXACTLY WHY WE MAKE MOVIES. Haters can fuck off and die. #ILoveButts— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) April 16, 2019
Zootopia filmmaker Jared Bush, game designer Cory Barlog, and DC Comics writer Julie Benson also voiced their support as representatives of their respective fandoms.
Dude, when we’re spending 5 years making movies in secret, pouring our hearts into them everyday and hoping they’ll eventually resonate, I can tell you your enthusiasm means the world. Keep it up. #TeamButts— Jared Bush (@thejaredbush) April 16, 2019
As a creator, it is videos like this that give me the strength to continue in some of my darkest times. This man represents a true connection between creator an audience and i am so thankful to be able to witness this.— Cory Barlog 🎮 #undateable (@corybarlog) April 15, 2019
He is a hero and i would date the hell out of him.
This is same reaction I had to the trailer. @TheEricButts is expressing pure joy and anyone making someone feel bad for that is a sad, pathetic, bully. I hope this fan gets premiere tickets. https://t.co/cgz1jKlQhI— Julie Benson (@TheJulieBenson) April 16, 2019
Butts, who describes his YouTube channel as a place where viewers can "be the geek you want to be, and we're always going to support that," had an enthusiastically positive personal response for nearly everyone who tweeted in support of him.
It really is blowing my mind!! 😅😅 I love seeing this incredibly amount of old school public fandom unity! 😁— TheEricButts (@TheEricButts) April 16, 2019
And as for that social-media influencer who said Star Wars fans are undateable? Turns out Butts is doing just fine.
Yup, that’s me and I’m very happily engaged to a woman I’ve had the privilege of spending the last 4 and a half years of my life with! Fun fact, we just got engaged for the 5th time because I’m building her an infinity gauntlet of engagement rings! 😁😍😁— TheEricButts (@TheEricButts) April 16, 2019
Watch: J.J. Abrams, ‘Star Wars’ stars react to ‘Rise of Skywalker’ trailer:
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