'Star Wars' fans rally around blogger whose emotional trailer reaction went viral: 'Don't let miserable people win'

Gwynne Watkins
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

Zootopia filmmaker Jared Bush, game designer Cory Barlog, and DC Comics writer Julie Benson also voiced their support as representatives of their respective fandoms.

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.

And as for that social-media influencer who said Star Wars fans are undateable? Turns out Butts is doing just fine.

Get Yahoo Entertainment’s complete coverage of Star Wars Celebration and Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker

Watch: J.J. Abrams, ‘Star Wars’ stars react to ‘Rise of Skywalker’ trailer:

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