The Disney era of Star Wars has always had its detractors, but The Last Jedi surely endured the biggest backlash of the past four movies in the franchise. While it received a positive critical reception and a lot of love in some quarters of the fandom, many militantly hated the surprising storytelling decisions that writer/director Rian Johnson made, with some calling for him to be removed from his upcoming trilogy or for TLJ to be wiped from canon altogether.
So, what’s it like to be part of the cast of a movie that divided the fanbase in this way? IndieWire spoke to Oscar Isaac – who plays ace pilot Poe Dameron – and he opened up about his reaction to everything. First of all, he said that he didn’t take it personally, as he’s just one part of the cast and not necessarily one of the most important people in putting the movie together.
“Luckily, since I’m not directing it, producing it, or distributing it, I don’t have to worry so much about fan expectations. Also, not all fans have the same expectations.”
For Isaac, the backlash against The Last Jedi is similar to the hate that George Lucas’ Prequel Trilogy got from fans back in the late 90s/early 00s. However, it’s so much more documented now due to the rise in social media and clickbait culture.
“People had very strong feelings, but there wasn’t as much of an organized way to speak out about it. People that run blogs and websites need content. So it’s like, ‘There’s some content!’ Five people on Twitter. Hundreds. Whatever it is. Then you make it into a story.”
Finally, Isaac believes that the negative reactions are just part and parcel of filmmaking sometimes, as people can only have one of three responses to a movie, when you get down to it.
“You make a movie and people are supposed to like, or not like it, or not care about it. Those are the only three options. So it’s not shocking that one of those things happened.”
You can see what Isaac means about TLJ‘s fan reaction recalling the negative atmosphere surrounding the prequels. In its defense, though, there are still those who hold up Johnson’s film as a masterpiece while pretty much everyone agrees that Lucas’ second trilogy has its faults.
Still, Disney will no doubt be hoping that J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX won’t face the same reception that Star Wars: The Last Jedi did when it arrives on December 20th, 2019.