The latest chapter in the now-eight part saga is still performing like gangbusters at the box office, toppling Beauty and the Beast as the highest grossing movie of 2017 and surpassing Rogue One as the #2 Star Wars movie of all time, but even with a 90% reviewer rating, The Last Jedi has become divisive among die-hard fans. The biggest complaints have to do with the tone of the movie, which many believe has too much (or the wrong kind) of humor and with the portrayal of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but others are upset at the perceived changes made to the nature of the Force itself, especially regarding General Leia (Carrie Fisher).
In a recent interview with Wired, writer-director Rian Johnson responded to some of the criticism, reminding fans that Star Wars has always had humor and asking moviegoers to “open” their minds.
I’ve always felt that the humor and the sense of fun, the banter between Threepio, Leia, and Han, is almost like it’s from a ‘30s movie. It’s always light on its feet. There’s always a sense of humor to it. So that was really important to me to get into it. Especially in this movie I knew we’d be going into some heavier places and I knew we’d be sitting on an island talking about religion for a big chunk of it, so it was important to me to get humor in there.
And, though The Last Jedi does broaden the understanding of the Force, Johnson said that it wasn’t his intention to push the envelope or “evolve” the franchise, just to make a “great” movie.
That wasn’t a stated goal, pushing it forward or changing it or something. I just wanted to make a great ‘Star Wars movie.’ The thing is I wanted to make a great movie also. That means creating drama with these characters, and that’s going to mean throwing tough stuff at them and taking it to new places. I wasn’t coming in thinking, “We gotta freshen this up! How do I evolve this?” That was the last thing on my mind. But I also came in trying to be unafraid of going to some places if that’s what the story ended up requiring.
The cast includes Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Benicio del Toro, Billie Lourd, Gwendoline Christie and Laura Dern.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is currently in theaters.