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How Rian Johnson Feels About The Star Wars Backlash

Luke on Ach-To in The Last Jedi

It's hard to believe, but it's been a month since Star Wars: The Last Jedi first arrived in theaters. Rian Johnson's highly anticipated sequel purposefully subverted fan expectations, and provided a capsulated and focused story that challenged everything we knew about the universe. While critics seemed to almost universally adore the recent sequel, the fans weren't quite as pleased. Because Johnson challenged themes like force ghosts, Leia's powers, and Luke's attitude, there was some serious backlash from the Star Wars purists out there. But it now appears that the director isn't worried about the naysayers out there, declaring:

There's nothing I've read or seen that's made me think, 'Oh god, I did kind of mess that up, I would've done that differently if I could go back.' I still genuinely believe in all the decisions I've made.

It looks like Rian Johnson is steadfast in his directorial and writing choices for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In fact, there hasn't been a single critique that Johnson seems to have taken to heart. He's happy with his wild and unexpected film, and doesn't seem worried about whether or not fans adored it quite as much as J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It's no secret that the Star Wars fandom is extremely dedicated to the galaxy far, far away. Because A New Hope premiered so many years ago, there are entire generations of Star Wars fans who are eager to see each new installment, courtesy of Disney. Since the franchise is such an emotional one for the OG fans who clamored to theaters during its original run, the ambitious plot changes utilized by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi seriously rubbed some people the wrong way.

Rian Johnson's comments to Slash Film seem to indicate his steadfast resolve regarding The Last Jedi's contents, although he did admit to a moment of weakness. When the film first arrived in theaters, Johnson was surprised to see a wave of hate coming his way via social media. While he eventually made peace with the criticism, Johnson said it did freak him out at first.

The crazy thing is, I had no perspective on these tweets. I had no perspective in terms of how big a group of people this was, even what they were upset about specifically. Over the next few weeks, I was able to contextualize it and feel much better about it. But at the time, I thought, 'Oh my god, does everybody hate this? Did I totally mess up, was I wrong?' And I had a very dark hour of the soul... because I had no context for this... When even 5% of the people are saying, 'You ruined Star Wars, I hope you die,' that's what you're going to listen to.

Eventually, Rian Johnson would hear the criticism made by fans, but ultimately decide it didn't matter. Star Wars: The Last Jedi moved the overall narrative forward, and has made a ton of money at the box office. Clearly Disney is happy with his work as well, as he'll be helming a new trilogy for the beloved property.

The next installment in the galaxy far, far away is Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 25th, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.