'Last Jedi' Director Rian Johnson Weighs In On Fan Backlash

You may be shocked to learn this, but some people on the internet were not very happy with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While early reviews for the film were overwhelmingly positive, some fans felt that director Rian Johnson had strayed too far from the established tone of the franchise. In an in-depth interview with The /Filmcast, Johnson shared his thoughts on the initial Last Jedi backlash from fans.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was an exciting departure for the Star Wars franchise. Rather than follow a set-path and concoct a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, director Rian Johnson crafted a surprising, energizing shot to the arm of the series. The end result was nothing like anyone had expected. And apparently, that was a problem. While the reviews for The Last Jedi (mine included) were extremely positive, a vocal group of online fans took umbrage with the changes Johnson made.

In an upcoming interview with The /Filmcast, director Rian Johnson offered his insightful thoughts on the sudden, unexpected fan backlash. On the night of The Last Jedi's release, Johnson had been traveling and doing introductions at screenings. While killing time at the Century City Mall before his next introduction, he saw the beginnings of the "hate tweets" surrounding the film pop up on his phone, leading to a "hellish hour" at the Century City mall. Johnson then says:

"The crazy thing is, I had no perspective on these tweets. I had no perspective in terms of how big a group of people this was, even what they were upset about specifically. Over the next few weeks, I was able to contextualize it and feel much better about it. But at the time, I thought, 'Oh my god, does everybody hate this? Did I totally mess up, was I wrong?' And I had a very dark hour of the soul...because I had no context for this."

Johnson goes on to say that "95%" of the comments he receives on Twitter are positive. Still, the filmmaker added: "When even 5% of the people are saying, 'You ruined Star Wars, I hope you die,' that's what you're going to listen to."

As you're probably aware, The Last Jedi won't be Johnson's last foray into the Star Wars series. He's currently crafting a brand-new Star Wars trilogy that takes place outside of the on-going Skywalker saga. The /Filmcast asked Johnson if the negative backlash to The Last Jedi will change the way he approaches his new trilogy, a question Johnson answers with a quick, succinct, "No, I don't think so."

The filmmaker adds, "I don't even know what that kind of approach would be. You have a way that you tell stories...you just do that."

Perhaps the best quote of this whole segment, however, is Johnson's final summation of the fan backlash. "There's nothing I've read or seen that's made me think, 'Oh god, I did kind of mess that up, I would've done that differently if I could go back,'" he says. "I still genuinely believe in all the decisions I've made."