The divisive nature of Star Wars: The Last Jedi has pretty much split the fandom in two for the past couple of years. While some praise Episode VIII for surprising audiences with its dark tone, shock twists and unexpected character development, others blast it for the exact same reasons. Going into The Rise of Skywalker, director J.J. Abrams has had to field a lot of questions about his thoughts on his predecessor Rian Johnson’s movie. He’s typically been very complimentary about it, but in a new interview he’s made clear there’s an element of the film he doesn’t agree with.
The New York Times has published an in-depth piece on Abrams’ role in the Sequel Trilogy and in one of the most enlightening passages of the article, Abrams shares his opinions about TLJ. He begins by praising the middle chapter for being “full of surprises and subversion and all sorts of bold choices.” However, the filmmaker then criticizes Johnson’s “meta approach” to the franchise, voicing his opinion that this isn’t what fans want from Star Wars.
“On the other hand, it’s a bit of a meta approach to the story. I don’t think that people go to ‘Star Wars’ to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter.’”
Even if you’re a fan of The Last Jedi, you have to admit that Abrams has a point. Johnson is undoubtedly a talented writer/director, with his recent movie Knives Out proving that he loves to play around with the conventions of the genre he’s working in to make something fresh. In TLJ, he very much intended to pull the rug out from under audiences. Some responded to it positively, others definitely didn’t. In very vocal ways, too.
It’s not surprising that Abrams would be of this opinion either, considering how The Force Awakens was a very nostalgic film that steered close to the course A New Hope had originally set. The expectation is, then, that The Rise of Skywalker – hitting cinemas real soon on December 20th – will continue that style and tone and sidestep offering up more of the “meta approach” of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.