The Last Jedi director responds to backlash
Whether or not you believe The Last Jedi is among the best Star Wars movies, one thing is certain: it's among the most divisive.
Although writer-director Rian Johnson's installment in the Skywalker saga had the second-biggest opening weekend in history and received mostly positive reviews, some fans are vehemently disappointed with the film and claim it tarnishes the legacy of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi. As of now, the sequel to The Force Awakens has the lowest audience score of any Star Wars film on Rotten Tomatoes with 55 percent and thousands of people have signed an online petition to remove it from the official Star Wars canon.
But this doesn't bother Johnson. He told Business Insider that criticism comes with the job. "Having been a Star Wars fan my whole life, and having spent most of my life on the other side of the curb and in that fandom, it softens the blow a little bit," he said. "I'm aware through my own experience that, first of all, the fans are so passionate, they care so deeply—sometimes they care very violently at me on Twitter. But it's because they care about these things, and it hurts when you're expecting something specific and you don't get it from something that you love. It always hurts, so I don't take it personally if a fan reacts negatively and lashes out on me on Twitter. That's fine. It's my job to be there for that. Like you said, every fan has a list of stuff they want a Star Wars movie to be and they don't want a Star Wars movie to be. You're going to find very few fans out there whose lists line up."
Johnson also said that while he was writing the movie, he asked himself, "What would George Lucas do?" After all, the creator of Star Wars made more than his share of unpopular decisions. "Lucas never made a Star Wars movie by sitting down and thinking, 'What do the fans want to see?' And I knew if I wrote wondering what the fans would want, as tempting as that is, it wouldn't work, because people would still be shouting at me, 'F*** you, you ruined Star Wars," and I would make a bad movie. And ultimately, that's the one thing nobody wants."
Johnson also pointed out that the negative voices are very often the loudest. "Let me just add that 80 to 90 percent of the reaction I've gotten from Twitter has been really lovely," he said. "There's been a lot of joy and love from fans. When I talk about the negative stuff, that's not the full picture of the fans at all."