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The Last Jedi Fan Response Won't Affect Rian Johnson's Star Wars Trilogy

Rian Johnson is tuning out the backlash to Star Wars: The Last Jedi

During an appearance at the South by Southwest Film Festival, the writer and director of the divisive Star Wars movie spoke with Fandango's Erik Davis (via Twitter) about the overwhelming fan response the movie received and whether it will impact what he has planned for his new Star Wars trilogy

Calm and collected, Johnson said that he's not letting criticism influence his creative vision moving forward, and stated that he knows the negative reactions that some fans had came from a place of love for the franchise, not out of hate for him. 

"I feel like every Star Wars thing that ever gets made has a big, loud response because Star Wars fans are passionate and that's what makes them awesome," Johnson said. "I don't think it's possible if you're really telling a story you care about and having it come from your heart ... it's just not possible to be intellectually processing what everyone else wants. Nor would it be a healthy thing. I don't think that's a good way to tell a story."

The Last Jedi currently sits at a 48 percent audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with one fan writing that the film is "filled with holes, bad jokes, and runs very long with very little story development." Critics, on the other hand, have applauded The Last Jedi for honoring "the saga's rich legacy while adding some surprising twists" and delivering "emotion-rich action." Its critical score is also much higher: 91 percent based on 371 reviews. 

Not a whole lot is known about Johnson's new Star Wars trilogy, apart from his simple pitch: "A new trilogy. Three movies, one story. New characters, new places." Johnson previously stated that he's more concerned with locking in characters for the films rather than deciding on when the trilogy will take place in the Star Wars timeline. "I'm more thinking of what's the story going to be? Who is it going to follow? What elements is it going to have? What kind of drama is in it? My head right now is more in that place."

While it's unlikely that Lucasfilm will allow Johnson to do anything and everything his heart desires with his new Star Wars movies (the studio fired former Solo: A Star Wars Story directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for reportedly taking too many creative liberties), knowing that neither the filmmaker nor the studio executives plan to pander to viewers is a good thing. 

Sure, a number of fans will still dislike The Last Jedi and may not even see the new trilogy because Johnson is behind it, but his remarks here are promising. It sounds like he's focused on what all Star Wars film directors should be: bringing awesome stories to the big screen.