|Directed by||:||Rian Johnson||Produced by||:||Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman||Written by||:||Rian Johnson||Starring||:||Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac||Production company||:||Lucasfilm Ltd.||Country||:||United States|
ANOTHER DECEMBER, ANOTHER massive opening for a Star Wars movie—this time to the tune of $450 million worldwide. That alone isn't really surprising; Star Wars fans tend to be the See It Opening Weekend type. What is surprising, though, is how divisive the film turned out to be. (Star Wars fans also tend to be the Argue About Changes to Their Fave Franchise type, too, apparently.)
What’s at issue? Largely, according to the reviews below the film’s Luke-warm 56 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, folks didn’t like that writer-director Rian Johnson’s chapter veered in deeper and darker directions than The Force Awakens and didn’t love what the movie did with Skywalker (and many of the characters in general).
We here at WIRED, though, are on board with Johnson’s version. But the dust-up does have us thinking. A lot. To work through our feelings, we assembled writers and editors Peter Rubin, Jason Tanz, Angela Watercutter, Brendan Nystedt, and Jordan McMahon to talk it out. Let’s get started. May the Force be with us, always.
(Spoiler alert: There will be spoilers here. You’ve been warned.)
Angela Watercutter: First off, I deeply enjoyed The Last Jedi. I’ve seen it twice already and am not ruling out seeing it again with childhood friends when I’m home at the holidays. I got earnestly choked up a couple different times. (Some of this was mourning Carrie Fisher/Leia Organa. When she and Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo were discussing the losses the Resistance had suffered? Full waterworks.) The lightsaber battle with Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in Snoke’s throne room might end up being my new favorite lightsaber battle of all time. And there were just so many beautiful, wonderful shots and moments. When the whole movie went silent as Holdo destroyed the First Order’s ship? Who even does that? Rian Johnson does that.
Which is why I’m so surprised it’s turned out to be so divisive. I was prepared for it to upset a few fans mad at the inclusion of so many women and people of color, but this is something else. This is just folks thinking the filmmaking is bad. Which seems odd. Am I alone here? Is there anyone here who wants to take the side that it’s garbage? Or perhaps offer theories as to why people are insisting on dragging this movie?