It is hard to talk about this week’s release of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘ without referencing the film which came before it, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’ The movie which Rian Johnson directed will likely remain a talking point for decades to come. Those who enjoyed how their favorite characters ended up will continue to cheer it on while those who can’t imagine how Luke Skywalker ended up as an old hermit as both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda did before him will continue to complain about the movie. So, with that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Johnson himself is weighing in on the idea of sequels and franchises.
Specifically, he feels that fans shouldn’t have all their wishes fulfilled in sequels but that new films should “challenge” them with new ideas and concepts.
Challenging “Star Wars” fans is one thing Johnson excels at! In a recent interview with Collider, he stated that if a director creates what the most vocal fans are calling for, then it is “a mistake that would lead to probably the exact opposite result.”
To clarify this statement, he shared his views as a huge fan of cinema:
“Even my experience as a fan, you know, if I’m coming into something, even if it’s something that I think I want, if I see exactly what I think I want on the screen, it’s like, ‘Oh, okay,’ it might make me smile and make me feel neutral about the thing and I won’t really think about it afterwards, but that’s not really going to satisfy me… I want to be shocked, I want to be surprised, I want to be thrown off-guard, I want to have things recontextualized, I want to be challenged as a fan when I sit down in the theater… What I’m aiming for every time I sit down in a theater is to have the experience with Empire Strikes Back, something that’s emotionally resonant and feels like it connects up and makes sense and really gets to the heart of what this thing is and in a way that I never could have seen coming.”
It is hard to argue this logic, but you know that those who hated ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ are going to continue to do so. I’m split down the middle here. There are aspects of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ which I loved, such as the entire story he told of Luke Skywalker. Still, there were creative choices such as giving us the slowest space chase in history combined with the unnecessary Canto Bight subplot, which just didn’t resonate with me.
However, with the early reviews of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ being just as mixed as ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ with our review stating it is “a bit dull,” it feels that after this weekend Johnson’s story will be old news as we start debating how J.J. Abrams ended The Skywalker Saga.
Do you agree with Rian Johnson’s views on audience expectations? Will’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ be even more divisive of a film? Share your thoughts in the comments below!