Sure, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is only a few months away from blasting into cinemas, but talk about 2017’s The Last Jedi seems as heated as ever. For a very small but very loud group of fans, the latest entry in the mainline Star Wars saga seems to have misused fan-favorite characters in an attempt to ruin their childhood, and they’re hoping J.J. Abrams’ next film will retcon its entire story.
According to Forbes, however, that’s not likely to happen at all. In new piece examining what effect The Last Jedi backlash could have on The Rise of Skywalker, the outlet notes that nobody involved in its production views Episode VIII in a negative light. In fact, both Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy are aware of fans’ expectations, but aren’t at all interested in acknowledging such theories “as if they’re valid artistic scholarship.”
Having co-written and directed The Force Awakens, the first movie in Disney’s Star Wars relaunch, Abrams had ideas of where he wanted to take the franchise but surrendered them when Rian Johnson was hired to write and direct the following film. Johnson specifically created a movie that didn’t adhere to the sci-fi saga’s traditions, to both critical acclaim and derision. While Abrams is returning to close out the Sequel Trilogy, he’s admitted that TLJ threw a wrench into some of his plans, but now he also doesn’t feel beholden to what came before. In a way, it’s opened up the storytelling possibilities.
To be honest, it’s kind of nuts that a publication like Forbes even has to report on something like this. The article does a deep dive into Johnson’s more controversial decisions, like Luke’s death and Rey’s lineage. Yet, we also know that Luke will return as a Force Ghost and that Kylo’s confession that Rey’s parents were nobodies might not hold any weight.
These aren’t backlash-inspired retcons as much as they are story elements that continue to evolve along with the plot. The Last Jedi (and The Rise of Skywalker for that matter) is a larger piece of a puzzle. And until we have the final piece, one can’t really see the full picture, and creating a petition to remove pieces certainly won’t help at all.
The thing is, if anything, this proves that Star Wars fans are a passionate lot, for better or worse. Hopefully, when The Rise of Skywalker is released on December 20th, Abrams’ film will unite fans instead of driving them further apart.