Rian Johnson Explains Why He’s Still ‘Proud’ Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Years Later

Yoda in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

There are popular movie franchises, and then there’s Star Wars. Entire generations were brought up on the galaxy far, far away, resulting in some very strong feelings about the property and its characters. Said fandom had a big reaction to Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi when it was released, with the filmmaker recently explaining why he’s still “proud” of the divisive sequel five years later.

While The Force Awakens was criticized for too closely following the example of the original trilogy, Star Wars: The Last Jedi shocked moviegoers by purposefully subverting fan expectations. While that blockbuster has gotten more love lately, it was a controversial entry to the franchise when arriving in theaters. Since then Rian Johnson has had great success with the Knives Out franchise, and he recently spoke to Empire regarding his feelings about The Last Jedi, saying:

I’m even more proud of it five years on. When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball.

Whether or not you liked the contents of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you can’t deny Rian Johnson’s sentiment. He took a number of bold narrative swings throughout his first installment in the space opera, some of which paid off more than others. And he’s seemingly happy to have put such a bold perspective into the long-running franchise.

Rian Johnson’s comments to Empire show how the filmmaker remains happy with his contribution to Star Wars with The Last Jedi. While he and Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran were the subject of online hate at the time, he doesn’t seem to have any regrets. We’ll just have to wait and see if he actually films another Star Wars movie as it was originally announced years ago. For now he seems focused on the Knives Out franchise.

Later in his same conversation with Empire, Rian Johnson further explained his feelings about the Star Wars franchise as a whole, and his contributions to the beloved property in The Last Jedi. He spoke to how hard it is to truly put your spin on such an iconic IP, sharing:

I think it’s impossible for any of us to approach Star Wars without thinking about it as a myth that we were raised with, and how that myth, that story, baked itself into us and affected us. The ultimate intent was not to strip away – the intent was to get to the basic, fundamental power of myth. And ultimately I hope the film is an affirmation of the power of the myth of Star Wars in our lives.

How sweet is that? In the end Rian Johnson had a number of bold choices in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that seemed to purposefully subvert fans’ expectations. The movie claimed Rey was actually born from nobody, while Snoke was killed off before his backstory was explored. Then there’s the handling of Luke’s character, and Leia’s infamous space float. But ultimately Johnson is a fan of the franchise, while also a filmmaker in his own right.

It’s currently unclear when the Star Wars franchise will return to theaters, although Taika Waititi is expected to be the first director to helm a post-Skywalker Saga flick. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. 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. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.