Star Wars: The Last Jedi actor Domhnall Gleeson says that while he respects fans' right to have an opinion on the movie, he won't entertain any viewpoint that is based on the gender or race of cast members. 2017's The Last Jedi proved to be arguably the most divisive Star Wars movie yet and while many people loved Rian Johnson's vastly different, non-traditional take on the franchise, others took issue with story inconsistencies, plot holes and wasted characters. Even Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill admitted that he didn't necessarily understand his character's arc in the movie.
However, a small section of the Star Wars audience criticized The Last Jedi for very different reasons. In response to suggestions from a vocal minority that The Last Jedi was pushing some sort of feminist agenda with Daisy Ridley's Rey as its lead and other key female characters such as Holdo, Leia and Rose, someone decided to make an edit of the movie that removed most of the movie's women. Furthermore, Kelly Marie Tran - who portrayed Rose Tico in The Last Jedi - was harassed off social media after the film's release, with many of her tormentors targeting her race and gender in their attacks.
General Hux actor Domhnall Gleeson has previously spoken out in support of his co-star Tran and has now, in an interview with The Times (via ComicBook), claimed that while he accepts criticism of The Last Jedi as a movie, he has no time for those who target the film's diverse cast. Gleeson states:
“Having a problem with a female lead or a diverse cast? That doesn’t even cross my mind as being an issue, because if that’s a problem for you then your opinion doesn’t matter to me. If you’ve paid the money, you've bought the right to an opinion. But, also, movies have to change.”
It's perhaps fair to say that Gleeson's sentiments here echo the thoughts of the majority of Star Wars fans, even those who vehemently disliked The Last Jedi. As the actor suggests, there's nothing wrong with hating the movie for cinematic or narrative reasons. Rose and Finn's arc did have almost no impact on the overall plot, Captain Phasma probably deserved a larger role and Luke Skywalker's return might've been better. But to criticize The Last Jedi for broadening the diversity of the Star Wars franchise is an attitude that simply has no place in 2018.
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi is certainly the focus of this ongoing topic, it is far from being the root cause. It would be extremely odd for anyone to watch a science fiction movie and come away thinking "that would have been great if only it had a few more Y chromosomes." Instead, Star Wars merely acts as a conduit for some people to express their previously held prejudices when the movie doesn't end up meeting their expectations.
Source: The Times (via ComicBook)
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019