The eighth installment in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, is proving to be one of the most polarizing additions to the beloved 40-year-old science fiction franchise. Despite receiving near-universal acclaim from critics, with some going so far as to proclaim it as the best Star Wars film ever, the audience score on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes continues its downward trend and currently sits at 55 percent. (For comparison, the critic score is 93 percent). Now, in light of the poor fan reception, some disappointed moviegoers are actually pressuring The Walt Disney Co. to remove The Last Jedi from official Star Wars canon by way of an online petition.
"Episode VIII was a travesty," the change.org petition reads. "It completely destroyed the legacy of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi. It destroyed the very reasons most of us, as fans, liked Star Wars. This can be fixed. Just as you wiped out 30 years of stories, we ask you to wipe out one more, the Last Jedi. Remove it from canon, push back Episode IX and re-make Episode VIII properly to redeem Luke Skywalker's legacy, integrity, and character."
After just four days, the petition is already well on its way to reaching its 10,000-signature goal, with nearly 8,500 similarly disgruntled fans pledging their support to wipe The Last Jedi from Star Wars lore. However, director Rian Johnson doesn't seem to be letting the fan backlash get to him, acknowledging that "it hurts when you’re expecting something specific and you don’t get it from something that you love," and adding that he "[doesn't] take it personally if a fan reacts negatively and lashes out on [him] on Twitter."
Regardless of what fans think of the movie, Lucasfilm clearly has more than enough faith in Johnson's vision for the franchise. Over one month before the official world premiere of The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm announced that Johnson would creatively oversee a new trilogy of Star Wars films, with the press release noting that “As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud."
However, it will be interesting to see whether or not the growing ire from fans has any impact on Lucasfilm's trust in the director moving forward.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Benicio Del Toro as ‘DJ’, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. The film is in theaters worldwide.