Star Wars: Last Jedi Director Gets Candid About ‘Incredibly Painful’ Online Backlash

By Klein Felt Posted:
Last Jedi Star Wars Rian Johnson Online Abuse

It has been nearly five years since Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hit theaters and the fanbase around the franchise has really never been the same. The Rian Johnson-directed sci-fi epic divided audiences (and certain actors), with some loving it and others absolutely loathing it. 

This has caused a massive rift amongst Star Wars fans, with vitriol being slung at actors, directors, and even other fans. This angry contingent of the fanbase has given Star Wars a bad name, with some of Hollywood's best and brightest calling the fandom the "most toxic" in movies

But now that a nearly half-decade has passed since The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson has decided to revisit the film and reflect on his time working on the galaxy far, far away. Part of this has been reconciling with the online abuse both he and others involved in the film have been facing for years. 

Rian Johnson Reflects on Online Hate

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In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson addressed the online hate he has faced since the release of the film. 

Johnson said that "it’s been a process," calling the experience "incredibly painful" and one that had him wanting to "fix" people's dislike of him and his work:

“It’s been a process. At the beginning, it was not easy. It was incredibly painful. It felt horrible. Before the movie came out, if one person said something slightly snarky to me on Twitter, I felt a deep, ’Oh my God, there’s someone out there that doesn’t like me... I have to fix this."

He said that now he is " cured of that," and called the whole experience of "[being] put through the fire" a "very healthy thing:"

“In the context of social media, and maybe in the context just of being a human being in the world, it’s a very healthy thing to have been put through the fire on."

The filmmaker remarked that he still enjoys engaging with fans on social media and loves criticism. He noted that where he received the hate was not from "Star Wars fans that didn’t like the movie," but more so a contingent of fans that "are actively hostile and toxic" online:

“The element that I talk about when I talk about a small fraction that gets amplified is not the section of Star Wars fans that didn’t like the movie; it’s the section of them that are abusive online, and that are actively hostile and toxic. And it’s very important to make that distinction, because I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m marginalising anyone who doesn’t like the movie, and saying it’s just a small percentage. Having grown up a Star Wars fan, part of the pleasure of it is everybody liking different stuff and talking about it and arguing and fighting about it.”

Part of Being a Star Wars Fan

It is nice to know that Rian Johnson has put the copious amount of hate he has received behind him at this point. No matter what one thinks of The Last Jedi, there is no reason for someone like Johnson to have to take the online abuse he has. 

The director made mention of being willing to accept different opinions, saying there is nothing wrong with valid criticism. He even brings up his favorite part of being a Star Wars fan in that "everybody [likes] different stuff."

So, valid criticism is totally fine. But when that criticism becomes the sort of verbal venom that has been hurled the director's way is when problems arise. 

But Johnson does not seem to have let it affect him too much. He is still slated to take on a trilogy of films in the Star Wars universe and seemingly looks back on his time on The Last Jedi fondly.