Rian Johnson (Knives Out, Looper, Brick and Star Wars: The Last Jedi) gave an interview during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival where he was asked if he thought the trajectory of public opinion regarding The Last Jedi mirrored that of The Empire Strikes Back when it first came out in theaters.
Rian Johnson was hesitant to talk with Uproxx about the similarities and differences between the two films. Although The Last Jedi was praised by film critics and beloved by a large part of the audience, there is a significant and very vocal part of the Star Wars fandom that considers it the weakest entry in the saga, and the reaction to the story it told was very polarizing.
Johnson explained his hesitation by saying that he didn't feel that he had to defend anything, but that he distinctly remembered being disappointed by The Empire Strikes Back when he saw it as a kid with his parents for the first time.
"Luke gets symbolically castrated by his father," Johnson said. "It sticks. That's why that's the one that, even though at that time I had that reaction to it, it stuck in me and it resonated with me.
"I think that anything with a passionate following always has a passionate following, and Star Wars is that, even more so. You can't be angry at one side of it when it's the reason the positive is so passionate, you know? It's all part of the same thing, and it always was like this basic thing. That's why I love it."
Johnson loved The Empire Strikes Back so much that his new movie, Knives Out, includes one of its most famous actors: Frank Oz, who has played Yoda since 1980.