Disney's The Last Jedi is decimating the box office and fans are in heated debates about whether Rian Johnson ruined Star Wars or elevated it. The discussions are heated and several fans have pointed out that the same people who criticized The Force Awakens for being too familiar are the same fans calling out The Last Jedi for being too different, which truly proves that you can never please all Star Wars fans. One of the more talked about controversies is Supreme Leader Snoke's role in the movie and now Rian Johnson has broken his silence about the decisions that were made for the character. Major SPOILERS for The Last Jedi ahead, read on at your own risk.
Before The Last Jedi hit theaters, many fans expected to figure out just exactly who Supreme Leader Snoke is and where he came from, along with a backstory on how the First Order came to power. However, Rian Johnson was not interested in telling that story and felt that it would have dragged the movie down. Instead, Johnson reveals that the purpose of Snoke was break down Kylo Ren and then redeem him, setting up Star Wars 9. Johnson had this to say.
"When I was working on the character of Kylo, I came to a place where I thought the most interesting thing would be to knock the shaky foundation out from under him at the beginning of this movie. By the end of this film, he's gone from being a wannabe Vader to someone who is standing on his own feet as a complex villain taking the reins."
Rian Johnson took some major risks with The Last Jedi and killing Snoke without any warning or tease into his backstory has angered many fans, but the director stands by his decisions. Johnson thought it would be "a really good setup going into the next movie," and went on to discuss that were Snoke to survive, how would that impact the dynamic between him and Kylo. In addition, the decision leads for more tension between Rey and Kylo Ren, fighting for the Light and the Dark sides of the Force. Johnson explains.
"But then the question is: What place would Snoke have at the end of that? That made me realize the most interesting thing would be to eliminate that dynamic between the 'emperor' and pupil, so that all bets are off going into the next one. That also led to the possibility of this dramatic turn in the middle, which could also be a really powerful connection point between Kylo and Rey."
Kylo Ren was a very immature and impressionable character in The Force Awakens and he's still growing up in The Last Jedi, with a thirst for power. If the rumored time jump for Episode IX is true, we could see a fully realized villain in Kylo Ren with a wealth of experience under his belt after killing his two father figures. This might not have been able to happen without Snoke going down so easily in the movie, much like Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.
Hopefully Snoke's backstory is explored further in Star Wars 9, which could shed some light on the First Order's rise to power while the Resistance takes time to rebuild. Regardless, Star Wars fans will never all be 100% happy, no matter how good the movie is, so The Last Jedi is doing exactly what it should do with an exciting story by Rian Johnson. Snoke along with Rey's parents aren't important in the grand scheme of things, which is one of the biggest curveballs that Lucasfilm and Johnson could have delivered and it will end being looked at as revolutionary in the years to come. You can read more about Rian Johnson's thoughts on Supreme Leader Snoke courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.