Why 'Last Jedi' Fan Backlash Might Be Good For Everyone

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Is The Last Jedi the most controversial thing to happen to Star Wars since The Phantom Menace? Is so, director Rian Johnson thinks that’s maybe a good thing. Replying to the perception that the new film has divided the fanbase, Johnson isn’t too worried.

On Thursday, replying to a fan on Twitter, Rian Johnson had this to say about the supposed split between Last Jedi haters and those who loved it.

“The goal is never to divide or make people upset, but I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if [Star Wars] is going to grow, move forward and stay vital.”

These comments come after the director acknowledged that he now understands how George Lucas felt after fan outcry about the Star Wars prequels, not to mention a short-lived anti- Last Jedi fan petition, and some questionable audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

But the real question no one is asking is this: will this cloud of backlash culture really last? Back in the first decade of the 21st Century, the Star Wars prequels didn’t just divide the fanbase, those films seemed to actually reduce the number of die-hard fans. Or did they? Anecdotally — or based on Rotten Tomatoes scores — the prequels are not “good” films, and yet, in 2002 and 2005, fans camped out not only for advanced tickets for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but camped out for good seats in movies theaters too. This level of continued devotion was not necessarily in spite of the prequels, it was perhaps because of of them.

Star Wars movies with mixed reviews don’t make people hate Star Wars movies. If anything, they make people like the series even more. So, Johnson is probably right. If the series is going to survive, it deserves to change. And, even though The Last Jedi didn’t completely break the mold in terms of structure, it did tease at the possibilities of a galaxy far away that we’ve never really seen before.

The Last Jedi is out now.

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