Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of those movies isn’t it? That never stops getting asked about, that never stops being talked about. It just sticks with you, like pixie dust or a blood-sucking parasite, depending on what your thoughts are on the movie. The film is polarising, there are no two ways about it. But what’s fascinating is that when you ask Star Wars fans what their favourite film in the franchise is, nine out of ten people will say, without hesitation: Empire Strikes Back. Believe it or not, when the film first came out in 1980, it received — much like The Last Jedi — highly polarising reviews.
In a recent interview with Uproxx, to promote his new film Knives Out, director Rian Johnson was naturally also asked about The Last Jedi. While at first hesitant to talk about Star Wars all over again, Johnson eventually gave in after some prodding. Johnson was asked about his thoughts on The Last Jedi‘s fan backlash and how it’s very similar to the backlash Empire Strikes Back initially received. The highly talented director had this to say:
“As a kid, I distinctly remember being disappointed by The Empire Strikes Back. Yeah. It sticks. That’s why that’s the one that, even though at that time I had that reaction to it, it stuck in me and it resonated with me. I remember the Prequels, that acrimony of the prequels. I think people forget exactly the tenor of the danger. We remember because we were in the thick of it.
So, I mean, I don’t know. I think that anything with a passionate following always has a passionate following and Star Wars is that, even more so. You can’t be angry at one side of it when it’s also the reason the positive is so passionate, you know? It’s all part of the same thing and it always was like this basic thing. That’s why I love it.”
I’m sure a lot of people would probably roll their eyes at Rian Johnson’s comment, but there’s no denying The Last Jedi‘s pop-cultural impact. Love it or hate it, it made you feel something and when it comes to art, that’s always better than making you feel nothing.