As one of the biggest names to grace the many years of Star Wars movies, Frank Oz is the latest celebrity to come out and defend Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The eighth installment of the Skywalker saga continues to divide critics and audiences but still went on to become a box office juggernaut of 2017. Alongside big space chases, even bigger surprises and shocking character demises, fans gushed over the welcome return of Oz as Master Yoda. However, while Oz was more than happy with the work that Johnson did on Episode VIII, there are those who wish it could be removed from canon.
Speaking to Collider about the backlash against The Last Jedi, Oz said he can't understand where such feelings of hatred have come from:
"Yeah, there’s a whole backlash. I couldn’t understand that whole backlash. I didn’t get it. I thought it was a great piece of work. I never understood that backlash. I’m somebody that works with the script, and if the script is there and I believe the script is organic and right for the moment and the character, then that’s kind of all I think about. I don’t think about extra powers or anything, I just go with it. I just don’t consider that really."
Among the movie's critics were Mark Hamill himself, who admits he struggled to see where Johnson was taking the storyline, and in particular, Luke Skywalker. However, Hamill has since retracted his comments and claims he now understands the decisions Johnson made for the good of the franchise. While Oz was a fan from the start, a lot of people have come round to The Last Jedi on a second, third, or fourth watch. That being said, there will always be those who will disown it as not a "proper" Star Wars movie.
Although Yoda didn't appear until The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, he has gone on to become a cornerstone of the entire saga. Sadly, the use of Yoda in a possible anthology movie would once again see Oz stepping away from the classic puppeteering style used in The Last Jedi and return to the controversial CGI character from George Lucas' prequel trilogy. Oz was last on the set for 1999's The Phantom Menace, then returned to provide only Yoda's voice for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Johnson could've just as easily used a CGI Force ghost for The Last Jedi, but following the original filmmaking of the series, decided to bring back Yoda how he is supposed to be.
As for Oz's comments, it must mean a lot to the likes of Jonhson that he has the support of someone so key to the franchise. You only have to watch Hamill's emotional reunion with both Oz and Yoda to see that it is much more than some guy with his hand up a puppet talking in riddles. There is no denying that Johnson achieved its goal to get everyone talking. Although everyone will have their own thoughts on what the director did right/wrong, at least the likes of Hamill and Oz can appreciate the hard work that went into making Star Wars: The Last Jedi and trying to honor the past 40 years of history and fandom.
- 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