Rian Johnson has addressed a fan question with regard to the suitability of Star Wars: Episode VIII -The Last Jedi for young audiences. While the space opera has had a successful relaunch since Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney thanks to 2015's Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, it is no secret that some die-hard fans were not that happy with J.J. Abrams' film borrowing a lot of concepts from the original 1977 Star Wars. And while that efficiently accomplished what it had to do - rejuvenate fan interest in the franchise with its fun and mostly lighthearted tone - a lot are expecting some bigger and bolder narrative plot points in the upcoming Episode VIII. The Last Jedi is said to dive deeper into the mysteries of the tragic betrayal of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) that prompted Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) exile leaving Leia (Carrie Fisher) and the rest of the Resistance in shambles.
As the normal case in trilogies, the second installment is usually the one that has a darker and grittier tone to it. Leave it to the classic and in-franchise, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back to solidify this pattern. But although many are drawing comparisons between Empire and The Last Jedi in terms of narrative and what it does to the overall threequel story arc, Johnson has time and again reiterated that his film is categorically different to the gold standards of sequels. That's not to say it won't have structural parallels with Empire, but at the end of the day, the director shares that his contribution to the storied saga is unique.
In terms of whether Johnson's Star Wars installment will be appropriate for all viewers, a fan asked podcast host David Chen if he thinks The Last Jedi will be a suitable movie experience for his 7-year-old. The Australian listener pointed out that the "war themes, mass murder and genocide" concepts could be too brutal for children and he is quite hesitant to introduce his child to the storied franchise. Chen, not wanting to answer this on his own, forwarded the query to Johnson via Twitter, and the director replied. Read Johnson's reply below:
It really depends on the 7 year old. There are intense things in the movie, but I don't think anything worse than in the OT or prequels.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) August 11, 2017
Obviously, the fan's query had some merit to it, but over the years, the Star Wars lore was able to balance out its narrative and visual storytelling in a way that it caters to both young and adult fans of the franchise. Certainly, Lucasfilm has even introduced media in the Star Wars universe catered directly to younger viewers. Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels is a very good example of striking that perfect tone that intrigues all viewing demographics.
If anything, the trailer, promo materials and even statements from the cast and crew involved in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi regarding the movie are all hinting toward something that we have not seen before in any Star Wars film. Luke, a believer of the Force and supposedly last remaining Jedi in the galaxy wants to end the Jedi way alone is mind-boggling to say the least given how devoted he was to the teachings of his masters, Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi while he was still in training. Further, the concept of the great and definitive divide between the dark and the light side is being questioned with the introduction of the real "balance" to the Force that would hopefully provide lasting peace in the galaxy far, far away.
Source: Rian Johnson
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019