Back in December, I was convinced Star Wars: The Last Jedi was one of the best films the franchise has ever seen. Then the haters piled in, with criticisms ranging from misogynistic blathering (culminating in a hilarious fan-edit removing all trace of femininity from the movie) to discussion over the tactical realism of intergalactic space warfare. Things got awfully heated for a while, too, with fans loudly swearing off that galaxy far, far away (yeah right), claiming that director Rian Johnson had ruined the magic for them.
Now, Johnson and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, have commented during an interview with CNN on the film’s mixed reception. More specifically, Johnson was asked whether he thought any of the criticism hurled at his pic was fair, and he said the following:
“The thing is though, “no” in terms of, “Oh wow, they’re right, I shouldn’t have done that,” but “fair” in terms of every single “Star Wars” thing that comes out, every fan has stuff they love, stuff they hate about it. Every movie has its lovers and its haters. Every single one going back to the originals.”
It’s a bit of a wishy-washy answer, but think I can see where he’s coming from. Fortunately, Mark Hamill was a little more coherent, stating:
“They have such an investment in it, you know? They feel they have a sense of ownership, and I totally get that. I feel the same way. Things don’t always go the way I like them, either.”
I’m entirely on board with the notion that Star Wars needed to evolve or die. You simply cannot spend the rest of the franchise reworking the same couple of plot devices, character archetypes and situations. Sure, you like the way things are, but do you really want a production line of The Force Awakens clones marching on to the future?
One of the most contentious decisions Johnson made was to kill off Luke Skywalker, the movie concluding with him becoming one with the Force after fooling the First Order with a Force projected illusion. Johnson went into some detail about that specifically, saying:
“It’s not something where it was like, ‘This has to happen in this movie.’ It was something we got to organically. It was never like a mandate. It was a big thing. It was not something I ever wanted to do. It was not even something I decided and that was it… It would be the easiest thing in the world [to not kill Luke].
You just don’t fade him out at the end, you just leave him on the island. It would have been simple. It was something I gave lots of thought to all the up to the very end of the process.”
For the record, I re-watched The Last Jedi this week for the first time since I saw it in cinemas and while I’d prepared myself to be a little bit more underwhelmed by the movie, it was precisely as amazing as it was a couple of months back. In fact, I still think it’s destined to occupy a place in the Star Wars canon alongside A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
Think I’m talking out of my ass? Let me know in the comments section down below.