Despite near-universal critical praise, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been quite divisive. Fan backlash has continued to push the film’s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes down; it’s currently sitting at 49 percent. Filmmaker Kevin Smith has weighed in with his explanation as to why the latest installment in the Star Wars universe has drawn so much ire, blaming unrealistic fan expectations and nostalgia.
“I think at the end of the day audience expectation plays into that,” Smith said on his Fatman on Batman podcast. “Like when, you know, you’re like ‘alright the next movie is going to be all about Luke and I’ve seen Luke in the trailer and I know exactly who Luke Skywalker is and now he looks like Obi-Wan so he’s going to be like this version of Obi-Wan,’ and then they give you a version of Luke that even Mark Hamill reportedly was like ‘I don’t know, is this really supposed to be Luke Skywalker? He’s not the one I remember.'”
“Some people, it hit them the wrong way in a big way,” Smith continued. “I’ve seen, it’s not just people going like, ‘oh, I didn’t like it,’ when they don’t like it. It’s vitriolic, as if somebody f—ed up their childhood.”
Smith went on to explain that part of of the reason for people’s vitriolic responses is that some misremember Luke as a “superhero,” which he was not in the original films.
“With Force Awakens you get the nostalgia rush, like, maybe we weren’t as judgy about that movie as people are being about Last Jedi because like we’re going to give you,” Smith said, “we’re going to make three Star Wars movies, here’s the first one and there ain’t a hint of Jar Jar in it, enjoy and so the audience is ‘oh god it’s f—ing back’ and now that they’ve had that moment the next one had a tall order because you lose the joy of surprise and like your childhood is back and sh– and now you just have to tell a real story that will further the story, build the world, make people interested and stuff. And people are less forgiving under those circumstances.”
“J.J. [Abrams] built a puzzle box,” Smith continued, “and Rian’s version was just like ‘this don’t matter, this don’t matter, this don’t matter, none of these things matter, and the Force is not something you’ve ever really seen before. Here’s a true representation of what it is. They did something different, and that’s when people come out of the woodwork and go ‘who is this guy?'”
Now in theaters nationwide, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson.
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