Star Wars: The Last Jedi may be among the more divisive movies of 2017, but director Rian Johnson promises he won’t allow fan backlash alter his vision for his upcoming franchise trilogy.
Ahead of the premiere of The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm announced in November that Johnson will develop a new trilogy, separate from the Skywalker saga, that introduces “new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” The was followed in February by the news that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will make their own series of films set within the Star Wars universe.
Speaking with Fandango at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Johnson insisted he will maintain his vision for these no films, and not allow the frequently intense reactions to The Last Jedi influence his process.
From #SXSW 👉 Here's director @rianjohnson on whether fan reaction to #TheLastJedi is influencing the way he's approaching those new #StarWars movies he's working on, via @Fandango
Full interview 👉 https://t.co/Qyrl85LAMn pic.twitter.com/LaUqWLvPEg
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) March 22, 2018
“I feel like every Star Wars thing that ever gets made has a big, loud response, because Star Wars fans are passionate, and that’s what makes them awesome,” he said. “I don’t think it’s possible when you’re really telling a story you care about, and having it come from your heart — it’s just not possible to be intellectually processing, like, what everyone else wants, nor would it be a good thing, a healthy thing. I don’t think that’s a good way to tell a story.”
Although there are those franchise devotees who continue to sharpen their knives following the release of The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Disney’s Bob Iger appear to have faith that Johnson is the right person to guide this next phase of Star Wars. He famously landed the new trilogy without even pitching a full story. Whereas directors Colin Trevorrow and Chris Miller and Phil Lord struggled within the confines of Lucasfilm’s vision, Johnson effectively has creative freedom.
The Last Jedi received criticism from several angles, but mainly due to Johnson’s decision to throw out the rule book and take the film very much his own direction. At the time, even Mark Hamill was critical of the director’s storytelling and changes to established characters, but as the dust settled, The Last Jedi proved a blockbuster success, earning more than $1.3 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing film of 2017.
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