Frank Oz has an important message for Star Wars fans who didn’t like The Last Jedi. He makes a good point.
Apparently, Frank Oz — the brilliant man behind all things Yoda — doesn’t agree with Star Wars fans he feels are too heavily critical of The Last Jedi.
Oz said: “I love the movie. All the people who don’t like this ‘Jedi’ thing is just horse crap. It’s about expectations. The movie didn’t fill their expectations. But as filmmakers, we’re not here to fulfill people’s expectations.”
More from Editorial
- How animation changed Star Wars: Ewoks and Droids
- The Acolyte might change Star Wars storytelling
- No Star Wars for Feige, and I’m ok with that.
- 3 major ways the Star Wars Holiday Special changed canon
- If Jon Favreau remakes the Holiday Special, it needs to star Peli Motto
He’s not wrong.
Movies are a form of entertainment, and are made for the sole purpose of — let’s be honest — giving us something bright and shiny to look at. Every movie is developed for a specific audience with the intention of telling that audience a story.
Regardless of whether you enjoyed the movie or not, The Last Jedi told a story full of suspense and surprises. It just wasn’t the story many fans wanted. Does that make it a bad movie?
A film is supposed to surprise you, to present events you don’t expect. And when that happens, you’re supposed to react emotionally — whether you’re angry or sad or filled with all the warm fuzzies.
You’re allowed to not like it. But here’s something revolutionary: Not liking something doesn’t mean the thing you don’t like is a poorly made thing.
If The Last Jedi upset you because (SPOILERS) Luke Skywalker dies and LUKE SKYWALKER CAN NEVER DIE HE’S A HERO, fine. You’re allowed to be upset about Luke Skywalker coming back to haunt Kylo Ren as a Force-ghost in Episode IX.
But you are not upset because killing off Luke Skywalker was Rian Johnson’s greatest cinematic failure. You are upset because the movie did exactly what it was supposed to do. Something happened that you did not expect to happen.
I wonder if the same people who complained about TLJ being too “different” also complained that The Force Awakens was too much of a carbon copy of A New Hope.
What do you want? Do you even know?
Let me ask you this: Do you really want to walk into a movie, sit there, and watch everything play out on-screen exactly the way you want it to? Is that your idea of a good movie — one that takes every expected twist and fulfills every giddy space fantasy?
It is not any filmmaker’s job to make sure you walk out of a movie theater having gotten everything you wanted. It is their job to tell a story that makes its audience react emotionally to what happens on that screen.
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
Maybe Kylo’s parentage bombshell and Luke’s sacrifice and Finn’s willingness to give up his life for the Resistance didn’t faze you. That’s fine — a movie simply can’t please everyone. That does not mean it was a bad movie. It just means it wasn’t for you, and it’s OK — you can move on. Watch a different Star Wars movie. You’ll survive.
Oz has pointed out the exact problem with all the toxic reactions to Johnson’s film. People don’t know how to react to not getting what they want. When their expectations aren’t met, they throw fits and channel blame toward the people they believe have somehow personally wronged them.
Not just the actors, but the writer/director, the production company, the entire decades-old franchise as a whole.
They used words like “ruined” and “boycott” and “not my Star Wars.”
All because a movie didn’t live up to their very calculated hopes and dreams.
I’m not quite sure what the TLJ “haters” hoped for. But I can tell you what I hoped for.
I hoped for a Star Wars movie that would continue the saga George Lucas had begun all those years ago. I hoped to see characters I’d grown up with as well as characters I’d never met before.
I hoped for losses that would fuel my hatred for Kylo Ren and the First Order (long live Admiral Ackbar!). I hoped for a version of Luke Skywalker that reflected the pain and loss he had endured since A New Hope.
I hoped for an ending that would both upset me (because how could losing our hero NOT upset you?) and leave me wanting more.
Were there things about the movie I didn’t like/could have done without? Of course. There are very few movies that don’t have weak points if you really take the time to deconstruct them, as so many Star Wars fans have taken TLJ apart and highlighted all its flaws.
But I still got things I hoped for — along with the things I didn’t get (a Leia death that brought closure to her character; more Poe Dameron; Lando Calrissian; did I mention more Poe Dameron?).
Also: WE HAVEN’T SEEN THE FINAL INSTALLMENT YET.
This is the The Empire Strikes Back of the sequel trilogy. How can you judge how good a story is when you haven’t seen the ending?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try something I’ve never tried with a Star Wars movie before: I’m going to walk into that theater with no expectations. I’m going to sit down with my popcorn and Junior Mints, wait for that opening crawl, and watch a movie.
Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s everything we’ve imagined it “should be” in our heads. We’re not the ones making it. J.J. Abrams did that. He told a story — he did his job.
Soon, it will be our turn to let it entertain us.
Did people go into The Last Jedi with their hopes too high? Were fan responses reasonable? Do you think it’s a filmmaker’s job to fulfill everyone’s expectations?