Director J.J. Abrams was under no illusions when he agreed to making the finale to the Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker, and always knew that it would be considered 'divisive' and 'controversial'. No matter what choices were made during the making of the final chapter, Abrams is well acquainted with the fanbase and the pressures that come with taking on such an iconic franchise.
Despite being burdened with this knowledge, Abrams has admitted he was never worried about Star Wars fan reactions as he always expected a mix of opinions to fall at his feet upon the movie's release, though he did come clean when asked about what part of the movie he lost the most sleep over.
"Everything. The logistics of shooting the set pieces, because the scope of the pictures is pretty huge, so how we were going to do any of it was enormous. Obviously, the narrative of the film, what we were saying, what we were gonna do. Just because no matter what we did, we knew it was gonna be divisive and controversial."
Well, he certainly was not wrong as The Rise of Skywalker has proven to be very divisive, splitting critics and fans right down the middle but in the opposite direction to 2017's equally dividing The Last Jedi. Continuing to discuss the movie's inevitably divisive nature, Abrams assured that he was never worried.
"I wasn't worried about it. We knew, at the very beginning - it was before we even started it - that it was a given that no matter what choice we made, it was gonna [upset some fans and] there would be factions."
When asked about the infamous 'Fandom Menace', J.J. Abrams noted that it is "not necessarily even any one group. Anyone."
"Someone just asked me, 'Did you go about trying to please everyone?' And I said - not that I would want that to be the case, that shouldn't be the approach - but how would you do that? What is the way to please everyone? There is no fan that represents all the fans. Everyone has their own opinion. And whether or not you're part of a group or not, everyone is right. Everyone has their opinion."
Abrams has been very diplomatic with regards to the negativity directed at The Rise of Skywalker, having previously stated that both praise and criticism are both correct.
"Do I wish - and this is far beyond a Star Wars issue - that opinion didn't immediately go to outrage, didn't immediately go to attacking and cruelty? I think the sort of MO at the moment seems to be that people go to these crazy hyperbolic and often cruel states defending their politics, their nationality, their race, their sexual preference, the films they love - it's like you're not making a statement if you're not doing it in a vitriolic way, and I just think that's unfortunate. Star Wars is part of all of that, but we approached the story, hopefully, from the inside out, hoping that it would affect people and knowing that some people would love it and some wouldn't."
The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters, and will no doubt continue to divide for years to come. This comes from BBC Radio 5.