Towards the end of 2017, there was a new Star Wars movie on the horizon and to say that I was excited was an understatement. Growing up, Star Wars in general was a foundational pillar of the person I grew up to be. I was enthralled with the movies, books, video games, board games, etc. You name it and I wanted to dive deeper and deeper into the lore of Star Wars, I wanted to explore the characters of Luke Skywalker and his children, I wanted to travel to the past and see the Knights of the Old Republic, and I wanted to explore the seedy underbelly of the universe with your smugglers and bounty hunters.
With the release of The Last Jedi, my wife and I went into it expecting a fun, good film that would tell us the latest chapter of the stories of characters we’d quickly fallen for, Rey, Finn, BB8, and many more. We walked in ready to be entertained.
We were NOT disappointed in the least bit. We walked away from that movie excited, riveted, and couldn’t wait to take it in again. As a matter of fact, we took our oldest child to see the movie that very evening. That’s right, we saw The Last Jedi TWICE in the same day. That’s why I was disheartened to learn of the next piece of news.
Rumors had been running wild that Rian Johnson would not be fulfilling the trilogy of movies he’d signed on to complete that would look in at a different part of the Star Wars universe. For me, Rian Johnson was being bold and innovative with a franchise that I deeply loved. Did I necessarily love every choice he made? No. That was his prerogative though and regardless I was ready to go on whatever cinematic ride he was willing to take us on.
Since the release of The Last Jedi, it was fair to say that were some who decided the internet was their bloody pulpit and decided to rip Rian Johnson apart for some of his decisions. When I say ripped apart, I mean harassed beyond your wildest thoughts. This also included actors/actresses from the movie.
Was the movie controversial to a degree? Yes. Was it the worst movie ever made? No. The reality is that a certain subsection of the Star Wars fandom hated Rian Johnson for one reason; because he aimed to be different. We had a female lead that was kicking ass and taking names, we had a black male lead who was equally heroic as he was uncomfortable in his own skin making the decisions he was making at times. He took Luke Skywalker and made him weird on some level because the man had essentially become a hermit and didn’t know how to interact with people anymore.
The sad reality is that people think Star Wars fans hated The Last Jedi because of a small percentage of fans who decided to be vocal, thrown around ridiculous terms like SJW, and decided that Rian Johnson not only destroyed a franchise they loved (which is questionable in my opinion), but apparently their lives as they were unable to move on. The truth is these fans are the same ones who harass women online and probably come pretty close to toeing a line of being racist/sexist/homophobes. The reality is they account for probably closer to 10% of the people who’ve seen the films, but because they’re loud, they believe they speak for everyone who enjoyed the movies and moved on with their lives.
Thankfully, Rian Johnson has since debunked those rumors. He will be making his trilogy of films as of today, and frankly, it’s what we need. We need fresh voices to expand the universe. Is everyone going to love every single Star Wars movie? Nope. Should we silence these filmakers because of a handful of people who aren’t socially adjusted? Definitely not. I look forward to seeing a wide swath of women, actors/actresses of color, and representation of gay/trans characters in the upcoming movies/comics/television properties/books/etc. Because that’s the world we live in today. That’s the world our favorite characters in Star Wars lives in.
And if you don’t like it? Kick rocks. We don’t need your poison.