Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi is currently fanning the flames of a massive Star Wars fan fight, but the director is taking it all in stride as revealed in a new interview. First and foremost, Johnson is a Star Wars fan and his career has been leading him up to this point, but fans have been taking to social media to tear him apart for not making the movie that they expected, which is having little to no effect on the director since he has been expecting some kind of backlash since day one. The interview is also a great insight into how Rian Johnson worked on the story and stayed away from the internet while writing.
Rian Johnson recently sat down with Business Insider to discuss The Last Jedi as well as some of the harsh criticism that the movie has gained on social media. When asked about the controversy, Johnson replied that being a life-long Star Wars fan helped "soften the blow" because he knew what to expect. In addition, the director revealed that he is aware of how passionate the fans can be and basically said that you can't please everybody. He explains.
"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. 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."
The director went on to talk about how personal the original stories were for George Lucas and used that as a model for himself while writing The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson said that he could've made a movie that followed what a certain faction of fans wanted to see, but that he'd still be in the same position. The only alternative was for Johnson to just do what he does best and just craft something original that stands on its own. He also shared that most of his interactions with Star Wars fans have been positive. He had this to say.
"And I also know the same way the original movies were personal for Lucas. 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. And let me just add that 80-90% of the reaction I've gotten from Twitter has been really lovely. 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."
Speaking of fan reactions to The Last Jedi, internet trolls have gone out of their way to set up multiple Rotten Tomatoes accounts in order to trash the movie. There's a whole Facebook group dedicated to bringing the movie and Disney down, which is quite funny, but it has had a negative impact on the public perception of The Last Jedi. That being said, it's still the second highest opening weekend in box office history, just slightly behind 2015's The Force Awakens. It's fun to hate the popular stuff and fans who genuinely disliked the movie are happy to jump on board the hate train.
Rian Johnson was allowed the freedom to use his creativity to further the Star Wars legacy as opposed to keep it running in place. In turn, he did not deliver a movie that anyone expected, which has led to most of the public backlash while critics are still heaping praise on the movie. Whatever the case may be, The Last Jedi backlash is not effecting Rian Johnson at all and he's clearly happy to just be involved in the adventure. You can read more of the lengthy interview with Rian Johnson and the public backlash of The Last Jedi via Business Insider.