It is nearly five years since we sat down in a darkened auditorium with hope in our hearts, only to feel a slowly creeping sense of dread as Star Wars was dismantled in front of our very eyes. Who could have known that having our expectations subverted could have been such a soul destroying experience? Even the prequels had nothing on the disappointment felt that night.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi was the first sign that something was truly rotten in the State Of Lucasfilm. Never forget:
It pulled in $1.3 billion worldwide, but this was $700 million less that its predecessor. Fans stayed away when word of mouth spread, and didn’t do anything like the number of repeat viewings that Star Wars fans can usually be relied upon to do.
More to the point, it basically ripped the ass out of Star Wars. Solo flopped because of it, the anthology movies were cancelled and plans totally shelved. Colin Trevorrow quit. Abrams came back for a Hail Mary pass and The Rise Of Skywalker limped into theatres before Star Wars disappeared from the big screen and became a television show.
Wow! Thanks The Last Jedi. In a major new interview for Empire magazine, Johnson remains proud of his handywork:
“I’m even more proud of it five years on. When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball.
I think it’s impossible for any of us to approach Star Wars without thinking about it as a myth that we were raised with, and how that myth, that story, baked itself into us and affected us.
The ultimate intent was not to strip away – the intent was to get to the basic, fundamental power of myth. And ultimately, I hope the film is an affirmation of the power of the myth of Star Wars in our lives.”
The biggest issue fans had was what The Last Jedi did to Luke Skywalker, how he was portrayed through the movie and his final scenes of the film. Apparently we got it wrong:
“The final images of the movie, to me, are not deconstructing the myth of Luke Skywalker, they’re building it, and they’re him embracing it. They’re him absolutely defying the notion of, ‘Throw away the past,’ and embracing what actually matters about his myth and what’s going to inspire the next generation. So for me, the process of stripping away is always in the interest of getting to something essential that really matters.”
So he didn’t spend the sequel franchise to this point in hiding because he flipped out over his nephew having a bad dream, and then stroke out after a particularly gruelling Force FaceTime call? Well, why didn’t you say so?! 42%. audience score Rian. Show, don’t tell!
Many thought the catastrophic fan response to his efforts had killed his chances of making a Star Wars trilogy of his very own for good. Not so, says Johnson:
“I’ve stayed close to Kathleen [Kennedy] and we get together often and talk about it. It’s just at this point a matter of schedule and when it can happen. It would break my heart if I were finished, if I couldn’t get back in that sandbox at some point.”
We will believe it when we see it. Brick and Looper remain well-regarded efforts and Knives Out was good work that performed exceptionally well. So the question remains why? Why did you do it Rian?