Rian Johnson remains unfazed after the criticism he faced with his film Star Wars: The Last Jedi and that there’s more to “letting the past die” than meets the eye.
With a mixed bag of “Luke-warm” reactions stemming from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson remains calm, cool, and collected heading into his (untitled) Star Wars trilogy. In fact, he welcomes the criticism and believes it’s part of what makes a galaxy far, far away so great.
In a recent interview with Fandango, Johnson discusses such backlash and why it’s important for the Star Wars faithful to deal with change, but also remember the past — finding true balance within the “Force.”
"“I feel like every Star Wars thing that ever gets made has a big, loud response because Star Wars fans are passionate and that’s what makes them awesome.”"
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Speaking of response; Johnson’s displays that he indeed gets it, and why he’s entrusted with (at least) three more Star Wars films. Johnson stayed the course with his vision for The Last Jedi, and it paid off — becoming a beautiful letdown of a movie.
To some, Johnson’s theme of The Last Jedi “letting the past die” may be a big middle finger to the fanbase, but the filmmaker pushes back to such criticism, revealing there’s more to that philosophy than meets the eye.
"“It’s also about the things we keep from the past though… The quote of ‘let the past die’ gets kinda latched onto because it’s the big sexy quote of the movie. The truth is if you really watch the movie, that’s not where the movie ends up landing… Realizing that there is power in the old stuff also. And that we need that, that’s essentially what Luke fulfills.”"
Unfortunately, his attention to detail is missed by many, and it’s quite unfortunate. Johnson honors the past while testing the mettle of even the legendary characters in The Last Jedi.
Luke Skywalker’s epic scene at the end of the film is the perfect example; with the Jedi Master returning to his true self — the Luke we know from Return of the Jedi. It means more now that he’s overcome adversity and dealt with personal tragedy — learning from failure, the theme of the film.
Here’s hoping Rian Johnson continues trusting his gut in his next set of Star Wars films. We need more honest stories and ones that challenge the status quo while respecting the past simultaneously — which The Last Jedi does in spades.
In about a decade or two, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be more appreciated than it is now. Change is hard to accept, but, patience is the key, my young Padawans.