Rian Johnson Says Last Jedi Backlash Necessary for Star Wars to Grow

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been a lot of things to a lot of people. Some folks left theaters absolutely enamored with the film, while others remain less than enthused. Of those who weren’t impressed with the film, a minority took to the internet to do what angry internet posters do. The backlash made its way to the film’s director, Rian Johnson, who responded at length. Now, Johnson claims fan frustration is all part of the franchise’s growing pains – and he might be right.

Johnson’s film diverged from the typical Star Wars format in a lot of ways. The film is bold, subverting fan expectations in favor of the surprising. The whiplash from that surprise clearly caused distress among a subset of Star Wars fans who have since railed against the film, claiming it was the Star Wars they got, but not the Star Wars they wanted.

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A petition to strike the film from Star Wars canon popped up a mere day after the movie debuted (the creator of that petition has since backtracked his support). A rash of poor Rotten Tomatoes scores were initially thought to be the work of bots, but have since been determined genuine by the company. Even the series' own star, Mark Hamill, has gone on the record saying that the Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi isn't his Luke Skywalker.

According to Johnson, though, these kinds of discussions, as vitriolic as they may be, are all part of Star Wars growing up. The films' heroic cycles has been set in stone for some time now, but in the wake of side stories like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story (that’s a lot of Star Wars in a short time period), maybe the series’ narratives can use all the creativity they can get. The might rankle fans for awhile, but is that so bad if it means the series stays relevant?

In theaters now, 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.

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