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Rian Johnson Explains How He Overcame ‘The Last Jedi’ Backlash

star wars

Imagine for a second that you’ve been hired to write and direct the next Star Wars movie. Within minutes, you’re envisioning scenarios where you get fired by Lucasfilm, as they’ve had a lot of experience with that lately. But when Rian Johnson was hired to write and direct Episode VIII, his fears had more to do with disappointing the fans—and even that didn’t last long. “It was really scary,” he told The /Filmcast, referring to the realization that he had the job. “But then, when I sat down to write, it was actually the most fun I’ve ever had writing.”

When Lucasfilm hired Johnson, he had little more than the seed of an idea. “My pitch was the first movie is like the introduction, the second movie is training,” he explained. “By ‘training,’ I mean we take each of these characters and we really test their mettle. So I said that would be my approach to it. It’s a very character-based approach where we just start with each one of these characters we care about and figure out what the hardest next step is for each of them.”

Now that The Last Jedi has been out for a while, Johnson has had a chance to work through the experience those original fears were anticipating. Along with considerable acclaim, the film received widespread criticism. “I had no perspective in terms of how big a group of people this was, even what they were upset about specifically,” he said. “Over the next few weeks, I was able to contextualize it and feel much better about it. But at the time, I thought, ‘Oh my god, does everybody hate this? Did I totally mess up? Was I wrong?’ And I had a very dark hour of the soul… because I had no context for this.”

The Last Jedi is in theatres now. Read our review here and check out the trailer below.