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Fans are still debating Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even now that the Skywalker Saga is over. The movie was unique and quite different, which has made it quite divisive among the mildly obsessive Star Wars fans. Opinions of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are, in many ways, contingent on one's opinion of The Last Jedi, so what does the guy who made The Last Jedi think of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?
If you were somehow expecting Rian Johnson to completely trash The Rise of Skywalker, I'm not sure who you think this guy is. Johnson has always been nothing but supportive of Star Wars in general because before he was making movies in the Star Wars universe, he was a fan of the franchise himself. Since he was nothing but a fan when it came to Rise of Skywalker, that's how he watched the new movie, and as a fan, he says he loved it. According to Johnson...
I had a blast, man. Made me so proud and seeing the heart and soul that J.J. [Abrams] put into it. And seeing my friends who were in the movie just like, bring the whole thing to a conclusion. Yeah, for me as a Star Wars fan, it was a really special experience.
Rian Johnson has always seen himself as a Star Wars fan first, and so, being able to see the newest Star Wars movie simply as that was probably something of a relief. He got all of the Star Wars he wanted while doing none of the work. At the same time, Johnson's relationship to Star Wars has changed forever since he wrote and directed one piece of the Skywalker Saga. The actors on the screen in Rise of Skywalker are now people he knows personally, people he refers to as friends when talking to MTV here. That likely made the new movie an even bigger and more monumental experience for him than it was for all the other Star Wars fans who saw it.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, like The Last Jedi before it, is a movie where people have strong opinions. Some love it, others don't, and both sides were quite vocal upon release. Rian Johnson, for his part, remained pretty quiet, probably because he knew that any statement he made would be jumped on. Having said that, he ends up saying pretty good things about the film and his feelings seem quite genuine.