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Rian Johnson is still receiving a lot of flack from Star Wars fans for his decisions in Star Wars: The Last Jedi but another Star Wars writer is coming to his defense. Gary Whitta wrote the screenplay for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story but he is also now intimately familiar with The Last Jedi as he is writing the comic book adaptation of the film. Whitta admits that, had he written Episode VIII, he probably would have written a very different film, but he doesn't believe he would have written a better one. According to Whitta...
Look, I would not necessarily have made every choice that Rian made because I'm not the same person or writer or fan that he is, but I respect and admire and appreciate and support every choice he did make. The film he wrote is far braver and more mature and more challenging than I could ever have written.
There's little argument that the movie Rian Johnson wrote was brave. It certainly took the franchise to places it had never been before. However, for a vocal contingent of fans, the franchise went to places they didn't want it to go. Many took issue with Luke Skywalker's depiction in the story as a man who had exiled himself following a poor decision. Others didn't like the fact that characters like Supreme Leader Snoke were removed from the story without further explanation or that the question of Rey's parentage was given an explanation that some felt was a letdown.
Gary Whitta tells Jedi News that if he had written The Last Jedi he probably would have written a movie that better satiated those fans upset with Rian Johnson's story. But, at the same time, he says that his version would have been a lesser movie for that very reason. Clearly, he feels that the way The Last Jedi challenged the audience with something unexpected was its best aspect, as many people do, eventually.
It's certainly true that everybody is a little bit different and so everybody approaches Star Wars in a different way. It's one of the more interesting aspects of this new Star Wars trilogy, that each episode, from the story on up, is being handled by different people, so each one has seemingly complete freedom to craft whatever story they want to tell. Even Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Episode IX, while they share J.J. Abrams in common as a writer, have different co-writers attached, so it's possible all three episodes will be unique takes on the franchise.
As production on Star Wars Episode IX gets underway hopefully people can start to cut Rian Johnson a break and begin to focus on the final episode of the new trilogy, set to debut in 2019.