Celebrating the anniversary of The Last Jedi's release, Rian Johnson extended a message of gratitude to Star Wars fans. Johnson served as both writer and director on the latest installment of the long-running saga. Despite receiving positive reviews from critics and many fans, the film garnered a significant amount of backlash from others. Frustrations from certain fans occasionally spilled over into outright vitriol aimed at both Johnson and the film's stars. Kelly Marie Tran, who played new addition Rose Tico, experienced the brunt of said aggression, ultimately leaving social media as a result.
Away from the outwardly abusive subset of fans, criticism largely revolved around Episode VIII's depiction of Luke Skywalker. Despite Johnson stating that the characterization remained consistent with the original trilogy and concept art revealing that this version of Luke remained true to plans put in place even before The Force Awakens, some fans remain displeased. Even now, a year later, the debate rages on, with The Last Jedi considered equally the best and worst of the franchise. Johnson, who is also responsible for Looper and directed some of the best episodes of Breaking Bad, has since moved back to his own original projects. His next film, Knives Out, is currently in production.
Posting on Twitter, however, Johnson took time out to express his gratitude to fans of Star Wars for the experiences and interactions of the past year. The director focused equally on both sides of the reactionary spectrum, thanking the "supportive" and the "argumentative" alike. Johnson goes on to deem getting to hear from and meet fans has been the "experience of a lifetime". Check out the full, impassioned tweet below.
Want to thank all the amazing passionate thoughtful kind creative talented supportive argumentative opinionated respectful open-hearted inspiring AMAZING Star Wars fans for the past year. Getting to hear from & meet so many of you has been the experience of a lifetime. ❤️— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) December 15, 2018
Johnson only refers to the last year, but his time within the galaxy originally created by George Lucas extends far beyond that. News that he would work on the film first broke in 2014. With work towards the installment already in motion, Johnson would spend the next three years of his life building towards the release. Though he's now focused on another project, his work in the Star Wars universe is set to continue with a separate trilogy of films.
All in all, that is a lot of time and energy to pour into something. Whatever people may think of The Last Jedi and what he added to the official canon, there is no denying that the writer/director gave his all to the project. The fact that he has since used what free time he has to express gratitude to the fans, both polite and hostile alike, only further demonstrates his character. Although a few will use even this as a chance to hit out at Johnson, many have returned the gesture with their own messages of thanks and appreciation.
Despite the divisive reaction to the film, The Last Jedi went on to earn over $1 billion at the box office. Though the series, overall, has floundered somewhat with the underwhelming performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, anticipation remains high and speculation remains rife for Episode IX. Whether people are looking forward to the continuation of what Johnson delivered or hoping for a complete retcon, it's sure to bring audiences flocking. As well as that, the buzz surrounding the first planned TV show of the collective universe, The Mandalorian, indicates that the franchise could easily bounce back from any perceived damage caused by The Last Jedi.
Source: Rian Johnson
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019