While the movie was released back in December, cinephiles and fans alike haven't stopped dissecting and discussing Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson's subversive sequel shattered expectations for the space opera, and took the characters into new and unexpected places. But since Johnson took so many risks, there are plenty of critics who aren't fond of The Last Jedi, and have made their feelings known via social media. The newest sequel is certainly one of the most divisive installments in the Star Wars franchise, and now series protagonist Mark Hamill has spoken up about the backlash surrounding The Last Jedi. He said,
We were so lucky there wasn't social media when Empire Strikes Back came out. In those days you really had to take a lot of effort and sit down and say, 'Dear Mr. Hamill, why did you turn Harrison Ford into a coffee table? This is not right.' Now, it's wallop and send. It's so easy. Pure hatred can be delivered directly to your home in a nanosecond.
It looks like Mark Hamill has noticed how social media has changed the overall climate of filmmaking. Bad word of mouth (or word of Tweet) can kill a movie before it even has a chance. While The Last Jedi was still a critical and financial success, Hamill isn't sure how fans would have reacted to the original trilogy if social media were around to make opinions known.
Mark Hamill's comments to CNN does stand to reason, especially regarding the major twists in Empire Strikes Back. The bomb that Luke was Darth Vader's son was major, and one that definitely could have been spoiled if there was social media when the sequel arrived back in 1980. Additionally, Han's carbonite freeze was a big point of contention among OG fans, as Harrison Ford's signature character was basically the coolest part about the galaxy far, far away. Both of these twists might not have fared well on Twitter, but moviegoers had to actually speak to each other to share their ideas about the sequel (and the film largely considered the best in the franchise).
Star Wars fans are an interesting community. There are entire generations of fans, some of which have been following George Lucas' sci-fi world for decades. It's a property that means a lot to many moviegoers, which is what makes anticipation and fan expectations so sky high. While fans are delighted for each new installment to the franchise, it does seem hard to please them. J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens was criticized for being too formulaic and close to A New Hope, while Rian Johnson was attacked for taking too many risks with The Last Jedi. Is there a happy medium, or do the cast and crew just need to accept that they're not going to please everyone?
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is available On Demand and for home purchase now. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.