Move over Rian Johnson, you’re no longer the subject of the most vitriolic opinions from the Star Wars fanbase. J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters and it’s certainly been generating plenty of discussion. Wrapping up a nine-movie arc, while also making a sequel to the incredibly divisive The Last Jedi that had to get the fans back on board is no easy task, and Abrams has been open in admitting that his critics are entitled to their opinions.
The reviews have been mixed at best and the box office was lower than expected, with The Rise of Skywalker poised to earn less in the lucrative Chinese market than notorious bomb Solo, and given all of the recent disharmony surrounding the Star Wars brand as a whole, perhaps a hiatus from our cinema screens will do the tiring franchise a world of good.
Overall, the consensus seems to be that the movie isn’t terrible, but isn’t worthy of the lofty status of concluding the saga started by George Lucas in 1977, either. Even people with direct ties to the franchise have labeled The Rise of Skywalker as an absolute failure, with some groups of fans doing what they always do when they don’t like something, and taking to social media in order to get a negative hashtag trending.
Abrams seems to be taking everything on the chin though, giving the most diplomatic answers possible when questioned about negative reactions to the movie. When asked in a recent interview what part of production caused him to lose the most sleep, the filmmaker was refreshingly honest in his response, saying:
“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.”
The director knew that The Rise of Skywalker was going to be divisive, and said months ago that that it wasn’t going to please everyone. When making such a high-profile blockbuster that means so much to so many people, the Bad Robot head knew from the very beginning that he would end up facing some backlash.
“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.”
With franchises as big as Star Wars, there are always going to be people that reject the finished product, and in the social media age, the filmmakers themselves are being forced to hear the negativity louder than ever before. On the plus side, Abrams knew what he was in for, and with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker now done and in theaters, the director can move onto the next chapter of his career.