Rian Johnson has made one of the most critically acclaimed “Star Wars” entries to date with “The Last Jedi,” but it’s receiving a more polarizing reaction among certain sections of the “Star Wars” fandom. Many outlets have pointed to the worrisome Rotten Tomatoes user score, which is currently at 55% after over 115,000 reviews, but complaints the film is just too funny and betrays plot points set up in “The Force Awakens” can be found all over social media and Reddit.
Fortunately, Johnson is taking all the backlash in stride. In a new interview with Business Insider, Johnson admits that fan backlash always hurts on some level but that he isn’t taking any of it too personally. Johnson accepted the “Star Wars” writing and directing gig because he is first and foremost a massive fan of the franchise, so he knows firsthand how these films can’t meet everyone’s expectations.
“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,” Johnson explained. “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.”
Johnson understands that every fan has his or her list of stuff they want from a new “Star Wars” movie and when those things are not given it can be hard to process. But he also says it’s impossible to meet the demands of every fan’s wish list. “You’re going to find very few fans out there whose lists line up,” he said,” For this reason, Johnson had to make “The Last Jedi” for himself first.
“George Lucas never made a ‘Star Wars’ movie by sitting down and thinking, ‘What do the fans want to see?’” Johnson said. “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, ‘Fuck you, you ruined ‘Star Wars,’ and I would make a bad movie. And ultimately, that’s the one thing nobody wants.”
Luckily there’s a large group of “Star Wars” fans, including a majority of film critics, who are heaping praise on “The Last Jedi.” IndieWire’s Eric Kohn called it the most satisfying “Star Wars” film in decades in his A- review. This kind of support is where Johnson is finding comfort over the backlash.
“Let me just add that 80-90% of the reaction I’ve gotten from Twitter has been really lovely,” Johnson 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.”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is now playing in theaters nationwide.