Pretty much the only thing making as many headlines as The Last Jedi this week is the backlash against The Last Jedi by a contingent of very vocal Star Wars fans who are upset by the movie. Some have even launched a couple of online petitions to have it struck from the record by Lucasfilm. (Unlikely.) Full disclosure: I personally think The Last Jedi is a great movie, and I have tried and failed to understand exactly what so many fans have a problem with. The backlash has, of course, reached director Rian Johnson, who is very active on social media, and he offered his own, very diplomatic response to what fans have been saying.

When Business Insider asked Johnson how he felt about the uproar in the fandom, he offered a very measured response about what he was going for when he agreed to direct this movie:

Having been a Star Wars fan my whole life and having spent most of my life on the other side of the curb and in that fandom, it softens the blow a little bit. I’m aware through my own experience that, first of all, the fans are so passionate, they care so deeply, sometimes they care very violently at me on Twitter. But it’s because they care about these things and it hurts when you’re expecting something specific and you don’t get it from something that you love. It always hurts so I don’t take it personally if a fan reacts negatively and lashes out on me on Twitter. That’s fine. It’s my job to be there for that. […]

Every fan has a list of stuff they want a Star Wars movie to be and they don’t want a Star Wars movie to be. You’re going to find very few fans out there whose lists line up. And I also know the same way the original movies were personal for [George] Lucas. Lucas never made a Star Wars movie by sitting down and thinking, ‘What do the fans want to see?’ And I knew if I wrote wondering what the fans would want, as tempting as that is, it wouldn’t work because people would still be shouting at me, ‘F— you, you ruined Star Wars,’ and I would make a bad movie. And ultimately that’s the one thing nobody wants.

And let me just add that 80%-90% of the reaction I’ve gotten from Twitter has been really lovely. There’s been a lot of joy and love from fans. When I talk about the negative stuff, that’s not the full picture of the fans at all.

It’s a tough thing to come into a beloved franchise as a fan, and be tempted to make something you know the fans want, but not necessarily what would be good for the arc of the story. Johnson came into directing this movie as a filmmaker first, and a fan second, and he made a darn good movie because of that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g51_tO6-eA

Gallery – A Visual History of Star Wars Movie Posters: