Star Wars Doesn't Need To Course Correct After The Last Jedi Backlash

The Last Jedi Didn't Do as Bad As Dissenters Think

The whole notion of course correction basically bypasses the discussed facts about Lucasfilm's process, and does so based on the assumption that The Last Jedi is a failure. And, really, it isn't. Financially, it's a bona fide hit, passing over a billion worldwide and almost effortlessly becoming the biggest film of 2017 domestically. That may not see it on a par with The Force Awakens, but no prediction ever expected the same cultural whallop of the return of the franchise after a decade; how the film's performing is, by-and-large, as good as could be predicted.

The real measure of failure, of course, comes from opinion, but that's not exactly cut-and-dry. A lot of common metrics are flawed - especially the oft-cited Rotten Tomatoes audience score, which is dogged with suggestions of bots and blind rigging - and anything more impromptu falls apart due to bias and sample sizes. We're really working with echo chambers of discussion, and if backlash truly is as granular as a fan/general audience divide, then there's going to be a lot of illusioned validation. Just because everyone on a subreddit feels that way doesn't mean it can be extrapolated for the whole audience.

Contrast the overall reactions to The Force Awakens and Rogue One: on a wide scale are they overall any different? Both of those films had allegedly fundamental criticisms leveled at them - being a spiritual remake and narratively choppy respectively - that emerged in response to overwhelming praise that sit alongside the typical complaints about The Last Jedi. The only difference here is it's the die-hard fans who are angry, leading to louder voices and more targeted presentation of opinion.

Related: The Last Jedi Is The Batman v Superman Of Star Wars

That's not to say reception to The Last Jedi isn't more mixed than The Force Awakens among fans, but the general audience mood, evidenced by ongoing box office (negative interest leads to a stall), is definitely not negative. It may be divisive for its audaciousness, but The Last Jedi is a success; we know Lucasfilm is about all quadrants, not just one section of the audience. Why would they change tact just because of a vocal minority? And even if it was a bad film (which it isn't), to hit a billion and keep growing shows an audience and nullifies it from being deemed a failure. Take DC's growing focus on Suicide Squad; the first film was savaged after crippling reshoots (an example of course correction), but it's financial success meant that didn't cause pause.

Key Release Dates
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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