In Which I Am Fired From Marvel

In Which I Am Fired From Marvel

Hello! I was fired from Marvel — from two Star Wars projects. The detail from the tweets I tweeted:

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. (I hesitate to talk about this, because honestly, it gives the Worst Possible People a win, something they’ve wanted for a while. But I also feel like I’ve long held to honesty and forthrightness, and I don’t feel like lying when people realize I’m not on these books anymore.)

To rewind a little bit, when SW: AFTERMATH came out, I assume most know but maybe you don’t, I put some ahh, elements in there (LGBT characters) that were not received well by a certain subset of fandom. That resulted in both a negative review campaign, found across various FB groups and other Worst Places on the Internet, that began mounting the very minute the book dropped online. I was literally at a midnight release of the book, and when I got done, there were already a pile of one-star reviews piling up – which seemed strange, obviously. And scary, too. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time. (And as a caveat, obviously I recognize that yes, some people just don’t like the book for the Usual Reasons, and people who hold those reasons are not to be lumped in with the more septic side of fandom. Tl;dr see also TLJ reviews.)

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. Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal. I didn’t call a lot of it out or even highlight, but it was there, a sort of… constant background noise. (Christ, for an extra special treat go search for my name and check out the YouTube videos if you want an eye-opening glimpse.)

And I was worried of course because, jeez, I thought I had screwed up. I wondered for a time if the book was bad. But then it hit list and stayed on list for four weeks – and the next two books hit list, too, and EMPIRE’S END landed even higher on the list than the first book. And privately, I was told by folks inside LFL that there was no worry here, that they valued that I spoke out both speaking up for myself and for STAR WARS, which has always honestly been a progressive brand and company. And it made me very proud to work for them, too, not just because — holy hell, basking in the glow of STAR WARS, but because the people were great, and they totally got it. (Hell, a lot of the people inside LFL have experience considerable harassment. I mean, that’s not news, but Kelly Marie-Tran? Bueller? Bueller?)

After I did HYPERION with Marvel, they hired me then to write the TFA adaptation, which meant I got to work with some wonderful folks – @hantos and @cracksh0t – on a project that was tricky, because it ended up being more a translation of the movie than an adaptation. (I know Heather received some of the worst harassment in the entire industry – I can’t speak to how well Marvel did or did not protect her from it, but I know she was at the bottom of a major misery funnel from Comicsgate and their ilk. Far worse than I suffered.)

Still, I thought things were good, and I hoped to do more work with Marvel or SW or a combo of the two someday – comics isn’t really my “thing,” per se, but I felt like I was getting a handle on it. Of course, the harassment continued – and it got worse again when TLJ came out. Which I’m sure is no surprise to anyone who has ever tweeted, “Hey, I really liked THE LAST JEDI!” That’s really when I started to see lots of YouTube videos and stuff about me and it was… Well, it was creepy. And I’d seen other signs of people being… fired for political reasons, or folks like @ChelseaCain who was yanked around and was also the subject of considerable nastiness.

And then we announced SHADOW OF VADER juuuuust last weekend, and people were excited, and I thought everything was good. I was not made aware of any issues, and my online self has always been my online self, so. Except, yeah, no. Today I got the call. I’m fired. Because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.

Basically, because I was not civil.

Which, of course, is their decision to make. I’m not their boss. (And, turns out, they’re not the boss of me, either. Har har.) (I joke because otherwise, I cry.)

My understanding over this call was that this was a Marvel decision, not an LFL decision, but I can’t really confirm that. The editor said he had made the call. He seemed genuinely upset at my tweets and profanity, so maybe that’s accurate. And again, that’s his right to do so. If they honestly feel that my presence will damage the book, I don’t want that. I want the book to shine, and artists like Juanan Ramirez and Greg Smallwood to do their amazing thing. Artists like that are gods in my mind, so I’m happy to not distract from their literal magic.

But it does set a troubling precedent. One we’ve seen already – James Gunn, Jessica White, and so on – of folks fired because they riled up the wasp’s nest of asterisk-gate. And it seems odd to be mad that I’m mad about politics when – well, look around. Climate change, kids in cages, sexual harassers at the topmost tiers of power, and so on. A call for civility as the PA GOP candidate threatens Tom Wolf with a golf cleat stomping. I dunno, man.

I know it hands Comicsgate a big win. It will embolden them. But they won — I’m out of Marvel and, I guess for now, at least, out of any kind of Star Wars. Do your victory lap, I guess. (Just please leave me out of it.) (All that being said, a lot of wonderful people still work inside those institutions and storyworlds, and I hope you’ll continue to support them and the stories they’re telling.) To conclude: this is really quite chilling. And it breaks my heart. I am very sad, and worried for the country I live in, and the world, and for creative people all around. Courage to you all. I have a dire fear this is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

P.S. Vote in November like your life depends on it. Because it just might.


189 responses to “In Which I Am Fired From Marvel”

  1. Ok Marvel is stupid. Who doesn’t know you’re outspoken and you have a certain flair for speaking your mind? That’s one of the things that makes you so incredibly you, don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong!! We need people like you more and more everyday. I find it comforting that I’m not the only one who is this pissed off. I know the assholes ganged up on you and it was obvious they got all their chicken shit minions to help. What’s surprising is Marvels complete and utter lack of spine. You’re a great writer Chuck, and your voice is important in so many ways. Marvel knew who you were when they hired you, shame on them for allowing bullies to win!

  2. I am heartbroken for you. Firing you for separate beliefs posted on Twitter seems like a dangerous precedent to set, it’s not like you were disparaging Marvel/Star Wars publically. Expressing your frustration and anger on current political climates should not affect your position as a fellow artist and writer and the quality of your content, hence, it shouldn’t be grounds for firing. I hope that you read this comment and feel a sense of support and loyalty. I will be honest, I don’t even know that I’ve ever read one of your books, I just know I follow you on twitter, and I buy your books for my dad, and I’ve always appreciated what you contribute to the world. Take heart. Better things will come your way when the smoke clears.

  3. As a reader (who enjoys owning and reading your books), and a writer, I’m worried about the chilling effects these obviously-political choices are having on the creative community. Art is about expressing yourself, and trying to make a difference in the world. Being an inclusive writer is a fantastic thing to be. I feel like we’re in the middle of a major situation in the United States. Civility is thrown out the window. People are being harassed, doxed, fired from their jobs – all for having opinions that diverge from a minority view (alt-right, Nazi). They’re weaponizing information and the three branches of government currently do not care. We need to vote like our lives and livelihoods depend on it, because, as you said, they do. Hopefully, we can energize the folks who decided to sit-out 2016, because if we can get them to the polls, we can bring back decency, one political race at a time. Thanks Chuck!

  4. Don’t know who the hell you are, came here because of stuff I saw on Twitter. Sorry you lost your job but hope you continue on your way with other projects. The whole family is voting, straight R.

  5. You know what pisses me off? The fact that a large lump of crap sits in the Oval, insulting whomever he wants, brings derision to his Facist Fests (to quote my 76 year old mom), and is still President. Meanwhile, you speak your mind, and get fired. THIS IS DISGUSTING AND UTTER BULLSHIT.

    Still mad about Disney firing James Gunn, too.

    I am really sorry that you were silenced because of the asholes SW fans who don’t like anything that falls outside their minscule worldview.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you, Chuck!! I’m also sorry to hear you are dealing with harassment.

  7. You have a wonderful value system, are supportive of other authors, and are a talented writer. Thank you for supporting others with such courage. The injustices you have experienced are reprehensible, and I am sorry you have to suffer this pain.

  8. I think I’ve finally had my fill of Star Wars, due largely to the fandom (and I stuck with it in the lean years of the 80s when it was lame to still like I it). And screw Marvel and Disney.

  9. I’m super sorry to hear this, Chuck. I enjoy your commentary on politics on twitter. I feel like you capture how I’m usually feeling about our current political shitstorm. It just bums me out that expressing your views in your own voice cost you this much. And I know that you’ve been targeted by the right-wing crazies, more than most Star Wars creators. That really, really sucks. Well. I’ll be hanging around no matter what. You’re a good dude, Chuck Wendig.

  10. So wrong of Marvel. Sorry it happened – the harassment & the firing. Hoping your next book explodes onto the NYT and stays there (success being the best revenge).

  11. I am upset and angry on your behalf. This will come back around to Marvel. I am so sorry. But I will continue to buy all of your novels. All I ask is that you keep on keeping on and speak your mind.

  12. I didn’t know being upset about Sinjir being gay was even a thing. He may have been my favourite character in the Aftermath series. I really enjoyed those novels.
    I didn’t like The Last Jedi, but that’s about it having a horrible story. They could’ve really used a writer like you on that movie. I hate when people think any one who dislike TLJ is anti-woman, because it’s not true. It’s just a bad story that ignores everything set up in the first movie and does nothing to set up the next movie.
    But back to the subject, it’s pathetic that Marvel is such pussies. This is a company that is owned by Disney, who used to make Nazi propaganda and is notorious for their sexism, copyright abuse, and corporate criminal behaviour. So for them to fire you for being too human is pathetic.

  13. Aannnddd….like they didn’t know your personal online style when they hired you in the first place? It’s not like you’ve hidden that light under a bushel basket– you’ve been forthright and out there, always, and you have opinions, and suddenly the powers-that-be pretend like they just noticed? Do I detect the scurrying of varmints engaged in CYA?

    Hang in there, Chuck– your voice is your voice, and it’s valuable. Don’t let them run you down.

  14. When I finally get my soul strong enough to open Twitter again after my regular breaks from following our political tailspin these days, your concise and sometimes vulgar declarations GIVE ME LIFE. I hate the way this is going down – but I know you are a kick ass human, and you’ll move up to something greater. Keep doing what you do, please!

    I still love Star Wars (and I REALLY enjoyed The Last Jedi, for real, because the force implications are fan-damn-tastic) but this is a serious bummer.

  15. Very sorry to read this has happened to you. We are living in frightful times, but take heart in knowing there are so many of us who share your views, and take great pleasure in your books and your blog. Please, write on. There must still be other publishers out there, with integrity and courage, who will happily represent you.

  16. This is wrong on so many levels. You’ve always been 100% authentically you – it’s not like they didn’t know this. This reeks of horse shit. And you’re right. I fear it is going to get worse before it gets better. Thanks for sharing your truth, painful as if must have been. I’m off to write a letter of furious disgruntlement to Marvel. Peace.

  17. I am so very sorry this occurred. It is horrendous!

    Prior to this, my personal statement was – I am definitely voting this November. Now, it is – MOST definitely…I MUST vote!

  18. That’s fucked up and Im sorry to hear about such levels of harrassment… You’re always welcome up here in Canada. Your Pelee Island teachings were amazing (and I am so grateful for the wisdom) and I admire your work and your unapologetic self. Deep breaths and whiskey!

  19. So sorry this poopy poopiness happened to you. You are good, do good work, and I look forward to your future awesomeness. Thank you for keeping up the fight *especially* with all the delightfully creative vulgarities.

  20. That’s fucking bullshit, Chuck. I’m a huge fan of Star Wars, but Marvel has been doing some stupid shit lately. As you said you’ll obviously be fine. Can’t say much for the country though, this has been a really depressing time.

  21. Hi Chuck, so funny thing. I’m very liberal. Agree with you 100%. I personally was not a fan of LTJ but not for reasons most were. I felt it was inconsistent SW. Characters made decisions that made no sense, the “science” of SW changed to accommodate the script, ect. I had no issues with Rey or Rose or any of the hate that movie gets. Even Luke dying irked me but wasn’t even near the core of my gripes. I’ll be honest I wasn’t a big fan of Aftermath either (sorry). Again props for Sinjir and Sloan and all that (no issues there) just personally disliked the present tense and the plot direction (and again Madine dying pointlessly)… but it has nothing to do with you or your politics. For me the best SW is SW that mirrors classic myth is all. On the political front I’m with you 2000% and am sorry this happened. You’re a good guy and your concerns are completely legit about the country and its direction and I support you fully!

  22. Jeez Chuck, what a crock. I haven’t agreed with you on everything. I didnt care for TLJ. I don’t read Star Wars novelizations, but we talked at length at one time and you were a kind person to me and everyone else that day. Does Marvel not realize the positivity you bring? The encouragement to writers and creators? The overall love you have for the Star Wars universe and the free publicity that brings? The general tongue-in-cheek dark sense of humor you bring to the world?

    Ah fuck it. Just pull a James Gunn and go straight to DC and say “I’m available, beeyotchs!”

    PS. I like Miriam and all your writing advice books. Keep being you. PLEASE! Keep being you!

  23. Not sure what happened to my previous comment, but I’ll attempt to recreate the sentiment, if not the exact words. I think you got a raw deal, Chuck. It’s frightening to think that one’s professional reputation can be sullied (directly or indirectly) by troll armies hellbent on silencing dissenting voices or reversing cultural advances over the last fifty years or just generally being hooligans for the heck of it. It should give the rest of us pause and make us rethink our own social media interactions for fear of leaving traces of unsanctioned political opinion for potential judgment by future partners and employers.

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ll shake this off and move forward with your head held high. It’s just an unmitigated shame it had to happen to one of the good guys.

  24. Ah fuck. This sucks. I’m sorry dude. But don’t back down! Yeah, that’s easy for me to say. Do what you need to do. You’re a good man Charlie Brown.

  25. Well made a tweet and already got jumped on by comicsgate aholes so I will say my thoughts here instead. I am really proud of how you have stood up for yourself here, and in spite of the toxicness that is enabled throughout fandom, people like you make me proud to be a comic and SW fan. Keep on fighting dude.

  26. Well, shit, Chuck. Shit, shit, shit. (Whoops, guess that means I’ll NEVER get to write a Marvel comic. Color me devastated).

    Meanwhile: knowing you’re in the right can help, a bit, and knowing you have FAR more allies than idiots in this fight helps too. But of course it still hurts. Like hell. And no, it doesn’t bode well for a country that is less than a century away from gleeful oppression of great huge swathes of its population. For a second there, we thought we were out of the darkest parts of the wood. Now it looks like the animals have come surging back to eat us all. Or at least try to. And by the way, good fuckin’ luck with that. Liberal doesn’t mean weak.

    I don’t have to tell you to stay strong, ’cause you already are. I don’t have to tell you that we’re with you, because — look at all these people, and these are just the noisy ones — we clearly are. It’s just sad. Terrible and sad and shitty. Oh, and also? Stay strong. We’re with you.

  27. You’re a better man than the chuckle-fucks who’ll take satisfaction in this. Please don’t be silenced. You do you, because the world will be a drearier place without your unique brand of truth, Mr. Wendig. (And, just for the record, my 12YO daughter and I love all the Aftermath books and put Sinjir on our list of favorite SW characters.)

  28. I’ve been reading your blog since I was a teenager and I really appreciate that you’ve been so outspoken about political issues over the last few years. I’m not American, but the news coming out of America disturbs me, and I’m seeing echoes of it in my home country as well. You deserve better than to be fired for being openly political about issues that matter to you, especially when you never hid that in the first place.

    I also appreciate you mentioning the marginalised folk who’ve been subjected to harassment campaigns as well. I wish you all the best. I really need to pick up Aftermath.

  29. What an utter sack of wank. That’s the shittiest reason for being fired I’ve ever heard. I ditched Twitter thanks to the relentless shittiness of human beings, but your Tweets were little drops of sanity in the deluge of filth. Keep on being you, sir. And if you’re ever in Taiwan I’ll buy you a pint and some stinky tofu for being an all-round Good Person.

  30. I’m so sorry, Chuck. What a nightmare! I hope the harassment stops, but I doubt anyone will be surprised if it doesn’t. I survived Gamergate (we had bomb threats called in to our studio and even in-company people threatening other employees – good times!) and it never really stops. But at the same time, it doesn’t stop progress.

    I worked with LucasArts of old and it was an incredible experience, and I treasure the memory. I’ve also worked with various incarnations of Disney and Marvel over the years, and the latter’s track record is… not great. Some parts are awesome (the Marvel Puzzle Quest team are super progressive and awesome, for example!) and others not at all. Like when trying to buy Rey toys that were being intentionally shorted in an attempt to make kids… like Kylo Ren?

    The number of kids cosplaying as Rey that year at Gen Con was HUGE. I don’t recall seeing any Kylo Rens. But no, we can’t have action figures of a GIRL. (This has gotten a little better… sorta.)

    I cried at the beginning – and ending – of both new movies. Because we are getting the stories we have wanted, and I think needed, for so long. Rogue One has been especially important for me because of a major brand having a latino actor as a main character for a movie not set in Mexico (seriously).

    I loved the old EU, I love the new one more. I love Star Wars. XWING-CD (on CD-ROM! So high tech!) was as formative to me for my eventual career in video games as Monkey Island or Zelda. 15 years as of June!

    I do not love you being fired for YOUR negativity (???? had they not seen any of the harassment?!) or vulgarity (have they MET you?). I do not love whiny peepants babies thinking they have won anything. I do not love a creative universe that loses out on excellent creators because a company won’t stand behind its employees. How many people won’t bother to try to get jobs with them because they aren’t straight white dudes? Or are just progressive straight white dudes? Because if this is how someone with your presence and strength and endurance is treated at the end of the day… how much worse will it be for others?

    It’s not okay. Nothing about this is okay. The only mildly okay thing is hopefully lessening the stress of constant threats and harassment… and if that is where we are at for okay, that’s terrifying.

    Plus it doesn’t matter what brand it’s under, or the name they go after (or “negativity and vulgarity”), people this awful are going to be awful. They’ll just find new targets. This is not how you solve a problem.

  31. BASTARDS!! Worthless, soulless, spineless, disgusting, pathetic, ignorant BASTARDS!! They couldn’t create anything themselves if their lives depended on it, so the only way they can justify their use of oxygen is to try to destroy others who are creating. If only we could cut off (or at least severely ration) their use of oxygen…

  32. Wow, sorry as hell to hear this happened to you, but to quote Major General Brereton, commander of the Air Force in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked in December 1941, “It didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.”

    The Corporate Producers of Di=og Kibble, which they desperately want you to believe is steak, and who will go to any lengths to prevent any Actual Steak (i.e., Good Stuff) showing up to prove them liars, don’t want people like you (and me) around. We’re “difficult.” (Henry Fonda once explained that: “They call you ‘difficult’ when you give a shit about what you’re doing.”). Like the Republican members of congress who say nothing about the Traitor in the White House, because they’re terrified of the Morons from Flyover Loserville, the corporate scum you’ve been dealing with don’t want anyone upsetting the permanently-pimplefaced, permanently-13 years old, white male embarrassments to the gender they depend on to buy their Dog Kibble.

    I loved s-f growing up, it saved my life and my sanity. I loved becoming a member of SFWA and I loved that the first dinner I went to, when God – er, I mean Ike Asimov, my fucking lifetime hero for saving my life with his books – told me he really liked the movie I’d written that got me my membership and asked me to dine with him at his table (Wow! Wow! Wow!). And I loved the fact that there I was, in a room full of all my Lifetime Heroes, the members, and they were saying how nice it was that I was now a member of the Magicians Guild, it was heaven. And then, a couple years later, there was a WorldCon sowed up in my neighborhood, and I went to it. And there were some people whpo were happy to meet me. But most of them – I walked around asking myself “Is there SOMEONE HERE who I wouldn’t cross the street to avoid???” And there wasn’t. I had loved going to San Diego ComicCon back in the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s – I had to go to that the next year for a movie I’d written, and at the end of the first day I told the producer I was leaving and I wouldn’t be part of his presentation, and that he should be thankful I was leaving because if I said what I was thinking, it would be a case of “If my thought/dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine.”

    And it’s only gotten worse, as all of it has become Corporatized. Star Wars is now part of Disney, which means you’re going to be subject to “Disneyfication” (a very good Chilean writer wrote about “Disneyfication” 40 years ago, (From Wikipedia: “The term is generally used in a negative way, and implies homogenization of consumption, merchandising, and emotional labor. It can be used more broadly to describe the processes of stripping a real place or event of its original character and repackaging it in a sanitized format. References to anything negative are removed, and the facts are watered down with the intent of making the subject more pleasant and easily grasped. In the case of places, this typically means replacing what has grown organically over time with an idealized and tourist-friendly veneer reminiscent of the “Main Street, U.S.A.” attractions at Disney theme parks.”)

    Essentially, they discovered you’re not going to be “Disneyfied.” You should thank your lucky stars for that fact.

    Yeah, I know, Star Wars and Marvel and all that fucking bullshit provides the kind of “credit” your bank really likes. They pay big to buy you off. Writers like not having to worry about the rent (and if they’re lucky, not worrying about the mortgage) just like Real People. You have to be a fucking moron not to want it.

    I had the privilege of a “two year post grad course” from Billy Wilder. Essentially, I was the only writer he knew who he thought was smart enough to understand him, who hadn’t heard al his stories a hundred times. so for two years every other Wednesday I bought two pastrami sandwiches at Carnegie Deli and sat there for the afternoon listening to his stories. Which were lessons. And the Big Lesson was: “If you don’t give a shit about what you’re doing, why should anyone else?”

    The Corporate Dog Kibble producers don’t want you to care, and they’ll get rid of you if you do. As you have just discovered.

    You’ve got a whole great career writing the books you do give a shit about, that people buy. Hopefully, they buy enough of them to pay your bills. If not, reduce your expenses so they do. Trust me, writing what you like, what isn’t “work” to do, what you get up in the morning looking forward to doing, is a bazillions times better than the Star Wars and Marvel Dog Kibble. Your wife and kids will like the fact you’re the guy they like to be around.

    Stay the fuck away from Okeefenokee West, if you want to enjoy being a writer.

    Ask me how I know.

    • Best post so far!! Chuck, listen to this guy or gal, as it were. You are the best resource I’ve found on the subject of writing and you make us think about our writing in such a positive way! Don’t let these Nerf herders get to you. But also, this is serious shit and a sign of the collective political nightmare we all find ourselves in. I pray for you and use the Force, vote as we all should, and exercize your second amendment right just in case “we get fooled again”.

  33. You have the dignity to stay true to yourself and stand by your beliefs. I’m angered and saddened in equal parts this has happened to you but also glad you will not conform to the will of others and become something other than yourself.

  34. I woke up here in DK to find my writer community in an uproar over this. Jasmine had found Damn Fine Story and got the rest of us hooked on your humor also. And the whole idea is just appalling to us. I know this means very little in the real world. But since you’re likely going to be facing even more attacks and threats and hassle now, I just wanted you to know that you have people who believe in what you do and believe it is right to include LGBT+ characters in these worlds and believe authors shouldn’t be forced to silence themselves just to have jobs.

    It took me forever to get your website to load to read this part… I hope it is because of the natural load of your message going all over the twitterverse and not because certain sectors are attacking that also.

    Keep being you. You don’t need “them” to get readers to your work. Build better fictional worlds and establish a new fandom.

  35. Obviously, whatever their views on your tweets, they knew who they were employing and also, a warning of some sort would be honourable, surely? I’m really sorry this has happened. I thought the slice of invective quoted on twitter by one of your detractors as the reason they fired you was brilliant but then I’m British and I don’t give a shit about swearing, it’s just pebbles on the road of life, there are bigger, more important things to take care of in life than foul language, like being a complete and utter cock womble. And if the extreme right are as up for free expression as they think, you should be able to call them the kind of shit they call you without recourse.

    Jizz to Disney. Fuck ‘em. They’re bell ends and you’re worth more than this. As you shake the dust from your sandals and walk away, here’s to something better round the corner.

    Cheers

    MTM

  36. Sounds like someone at Marvel didn’t like your success and has used the excuse of bigot-babies to move you out so they can insert someone less well known (who’ll probably earn less).

    Best wishes with your future projects.

  37. First-time commenter here, but I just wanted to add to the wave of support for you. Thank you for being a Decent Human Being <3

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