Frank Oz Still Liked The Last Jedi, Doesn't Think The Audience Expectations Matter
This December will mark two full years since Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived in theaters, and the fandom hasn't stopped discussing and dissecting Rian Johnson's wild sequel. The director purposefully subverted fan expectations, and challenged everything we were meant to believe about the galaxy far, far away. Lucasfilm was clearly happy with Johnson's work, as he's been given his own trilogy to develop within the Star Wars universe.
But The Last Jedi seemed to split the fandom, and is arguably the most divisive installment of the beloved space opera. Some fans took umbrage with the risks and changes to the Star Wars canon, while others appreciated Rian Johnson's vision and the challenging material. The legendary Frank Oz returned to the franchise to play a Force Ghost version of Yoda, and the Muppets icon recently spoke to his feelings about The Last Jedi, and the idea of living up to fan expectations. He said:
Spoken, Yoda has. While Star Wars is a franchise that is beloved by generations of moviegoers, Frank Oz doesn't think that should expect the creative process. Instead, directors should make their own Star Wars movie, regardless of what the fandom wants. What's more, this isn't the first time he's defended The Last Jedi.
Frank Oz's comments to IndieWire once again echoes how everyone involved in The Last Jedi is ultimately proud of the movie that hit theaters. While it was subject to extreme trolling and backlash by angry fans, Oz is fond of the most recent Star Wars sequel, and doesn't seem to be worried about things like fan expectations. After all, that's just not what filmmaking is about to him.
The stakes were high for The Last Jedi, after J.J. Abrams did a ton of set up in the Force Awakens that needed to be resolved. Rian Johnson purposefully went against popular fan theories, challenging what the franchise was capable of. Luke Skywalker was a jaded recluse, Leia was revealed to have Force Abilities, Supreme Leader Snoke was unceremoniously killed off, and Kylo Ren revealed that Rey's parents were nobodies who dumped her on Jakku. Fans couldn't have predicted all these plot twists, and some purists had issues with the liberal changes made to the official canon.
Regardless of backlash, everyone involved in the Star Wars franchise seems pleased with The Last Jedi, and Rian Johnson's work. The cast and director came to the film's defense when trolling happened, and Jonson is still moving forward with his own trilogy. So in the end, Frank Oz's comments may be right.
The Skywalker Saga will come to an end when J.J. Abrams' Episode IX arrived in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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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 favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.