Fandom means different things to different people, to a studio, a fan can be someone who helps to spread the good word about your film. Conversely, they can be an antagonist saying bad things about your movie online or, on social media. To fans themselves, the word reflects their dedication to something that means a lot to them, be it Stars Wars, Marvel or DC.
Fans are very passionate about the things they love, and their money and support can help a series thrive. We never would’ve got the MCU if it wasn’t for the fans who love it and see all the entries. In this regard, fans are a good thing, a thing every franchise wants to gather and accumulate.
However fans can also be testy; if the creative vision for a franchise or TV show takes a turn from what fans expect or want they will be very vocal about it, starting online discourse and perhaps even boycotts. In this respect, fandoms can be very entitled. Though fan money helps films to do well at the box office, fans are not entitled to have their own way or have what they want to see validated. Studios will do what they want, and fans can accept it or not.
That said, studios will do well to keep fans happy and onside because they can be great friends to have or terrible enemies to try and counteract.
Fandoms can be off-putting for more casual, mainstream audiences. There can be an element of gatekeeping to them with fans believing themselves to be better than other fans, based on some arbitrary little fact, like who has seen the film more, or who has the most figurines.
An example of the sort of thing I’m talking about was the bullying of Kelly Marie-Tran, the StarWars actress who left social media after harassment from fans, simply because they didn’t like her character in the last StarWars film.
However, fans have also positively impacted franchises, having helped to save cancelled shows, and help them find homes elsewhere. Thanks to active fan campaigns, my favourite TV program, Chuck was able to avoid cancellation and find a sponsor.
Overall, fandoms and the fans themselves are something that should always be kept in mind, but they also need to see where there is a line between wanting the best for something you love and destroying your own favourite franchise through sheer bile.
Everyone should try and be nice to each other online whether you like Playstation or, Xbox or, Marvel or, DC. We are all fans.