J.J. Abrams: 'Star Wars IX' Won't Be Influenced by 'The Last Jedi' Backlash

Bad news for anyone who really hated Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Director J.J. Abrams said the making of Star Wars: Episode IX (title TBA), out in theaters on December 20, was not effected by fans’ negative reactions to Rian Johnson’s 2017 film, saying that the story “speaks for itself.”

On Friday, Entertainment Tonight interviewed Abrams on the red carpet at the 14th annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at Bad Robot’s HQ in Santa Monica. When asked about whether or not any negative reactions towards The Last Jedi influenced his directing of 2019’s Star Wars: Episode IX, Abrams said it did not.

“No. I mean, every movie is its own movie, and obviously this is a trilogy,” he said, “We brought to that movie all the passion and hard work we would have no matter what. So, I think the story speaks for itself.”

Although Star Wars: The Last Jedi was reviewed positively by critics and also had a sizable number of fans, including yours truly, the film has been a divisive topic within the fandom since its release in 2017.

While there are fair subjective criticisms to be argued over the film, the majority of the discourse has been eclipsed by self-described hardcore fans opposing its predominant focus on women and people of color. Because of this, The Last Jedi is one of the biggest recent examples of review site aggregator Rotten Tomatoes having its user forum weaponized against its intentions.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Rose Tico
John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi.'

For a more direct illustration of some fans’ vitriol against The Last Jedi, just type “Rose Star Wars” — for new character, Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran — into YouTube’s search bar to see videos with titles such as “ONE OF THE WORST CHARACTERS IN STAR WARS” or “Why Rose Doesn’t Work.”

Also read: Star Wars Has Always Been a White Dude’s Fantasy

Rotten Tomatoes, which averages both critics’ reviews and audience’s scores into a percentage, has become an increasingly frequent site for frustrated men to oppose franchise properties that are becoming more inclusive in its storytelling. Although critics’ scores for The Last Jedi are an overwhelmingly positive 91%, its users rated the film a paltry 44%.

It happened with The Last Jedi and continued with Marvel’s Black Panther and BBC’s newest season of Doctor Who, which stars Jodie Whittaker as the British science-fiction franchise’s first female Doctor. It is now happening with Captain Marvel, the first female solo superhero movie from Marvel Studios starring actor and activist Brie Larson in the title role.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be released in theaters on December 20.