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The Uproar Continues Over The Last Jedi Undoing Star Wars

There's still a war going on in the Star Wars universe.

When The Rise of Skywalker closed out the Skywalker Saga in December 2019 with original trilogy director J.J. Abrams back on board, fans voiced their opinions loudly and frequently, deriding the film pretty soundly for a number of reasons — like sidelining characters, taking huge narrative leaps, and not fully explaining the return of a long-thought-dead franchise character. However, one of the biggest faults fans found with The Rise of Skywalker was Abrams' apparent attempt to erase The Last Jedi, the middle film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy that was written and directed by Rian Johnson.

After Colin Treverrow left the third Skywalker Saga film in 2017, Abrams returned to the director's chair. But after Johnson made some big and bold choices in The Last Jedi that resulted in major departures from Abrams' first installment, The Force Awakens, the trilogy helmer evidently felt he had to bat clean-up on The Rise of Skywalker. Entire plot points — and even some heroes' arcs — ultimately fell by the wayside to continue Abrams' story, creating an uneven trajectory for many of the series' beloved characters.

Now, years after The Last Jedi hit theaters and shook up the Star Wars universe, the film is still causing drama. Here's the latest dish on the strife The Last Jedi unleashed upon Star Wars.

Some of Star Wars' editors speak out about The Last Jedi

Editors for Abrams' Star Wars films have recently spoken out about the difficulties Johnson caused them. Mary Jo Markey, who works frequently as an editor alongside Abrams, joined the Light the Fuse podcast (via CinemaBlend) along with her co-editor on The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon — and the two had a lot to say.

When asked if The Last Jedi's narrative shift affected The Rise of Skywalker, Markey — who received an Academy Award nomination for The Force Awakens and co-edited The Last Jedi, but didn't work on The Rise of Skywalker – was quite clear. She stated, "It's very strange to have the second film so consciously undo the storytelling of the first one. I'm sorry — that's what it felt like. I don't even feel that's true about the third film. It took where the second film ended and just tried to tell a story. I didn't feel like it was consciously trying to undo — it just didn't feel that way to me."

Brandon then chimed in to agree with Markey, saying of The Last Jedi, "It's a completely different take on the Star Wars saga. To Rian's credit, he stuck to what he wanted to do. He wanted to deconstruct the saga and open it up to go a different direction. That is the film he made. I know it's controversial. Isn't that kind of good in a way? You bring in new elements. That's why I say I feel very much in hindsight that the trilogy, the last part of the trilogy, needed one vision."

She then added that The Last Jedi is "really polarizing," and that she believes it was "hard" for Abrams and The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio to "decide what to do [after] with it." Brandon summed it up with a metaphor: "It's like if someone wrote the middle of your novel. Now how do you get the end of the novel?"

J.J. Abrams' erasure of The Last Jedi in The Rise of Skywalker is pretty obvious

Based on what Markey and Brandon said, it should come as no surprise that Abrams set out to heavily revise the narrative events of The Last Jedi. Anyone who's seen The Rise of Skywalker can easily pinpoint exactly where that happened. 

The backstory of the villain from the previous two sequel films, Snoke (played by Andy Serkis using motion capture), was completely changed. Abrams backtracked on Rey's (Daisy Ridley) parentage; rather being born to "nobodies" Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) claimed they were in The Last Jedi, Rey is actually descended from Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDirmid), with her father being the Sith's son. Some of the revisions — especially the one where Abrams went so far as to remake Kylo Ren's helmet that he destroyed during The Last Jedi – seemed to be a bit petty, but clearly, Abrams wanted to retain his mark on the series.

However, one of the most disappointing developments is definitely how poorly The Rise of Skywalker treated Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran. Introduced during The Last Jedi, Rose proved to be an incredibly vital character, teaming up with Finn (John Boyega) and even sparking romantic tension with him. But by the time The Rise of Skywalker came along, she was completely shunted to the side, staying out of the adventure for no good reason.

Rian Johnson's post-Last Jedi triumph

Many fans are probably curious about whether or not Johnson found it frustrating that his hard work was basically erased. Apparently, he actually enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker overall. In an interview with MTV NewsJohnson said he had fun watching the movie: "I had a blast, man. Made me so proud seeing the heart and soul that J.J. 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."

Even if Johnson was upset at Abrams' revisions, he's taken the high road, keeping him in fans' good graces after his incredibly successful post-Last Jedi endeavor. Shortly before The Rise of Skywalker hit theaters, Johnson's star-studded murder mystery Knives Out – featuring Daniel Craig and future Bond girl Ana de Armas, alongside stars like Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Evans — made waves with excellent reviews and a strong box office performance, even setting itself up for possible future sequelsKnives Out was even partially inspired by the backlash The Last Jedi received. How's that for turning lemons into lemonade?

In any case, the sequel trilogy that closed out the Skywalker Saga proved to be one of Star Wars' most divisive endings, and fans will likely argue about its trajectory for years to come. The Last Jedi is available to stream on Disney+, and The Rise of Skywalker is available to rent or buy on digital download now.