Star Wars: Why are we still talking about The Last Jedi?

Online critics want to remake ‘The Last Jedi’ — and Rian Johnson is all for it
Online critics want to remake ‘The Last Jedi’ — and Rian Johnson is all for it

It’s been a pretty busy week for Star Wars haters. We’ve had the proposed fan remake…

We’ve also had that #WeTheFans manifesto…

…And Rian Johnson is STILL demonstrating he has the patience of a Jedi, by continuing to explain his movie to people on twitter.

But the main question we have is – why? What is it about The Last Jedi that has kept it part of the online conversation over half a year after its cinema release, and months after its home entertainment release?

People hated the Star Wars prequels, but no-one decided to pull together $200 million of pledges to fund a remake of The Phantom Menace. No-one went onto MS Paint to create a manifesto against Jar Jar Binks.

So, we’ve infiltrated the rebellion against Emperor Johnson (aka braved the bad grammar of a bunch of low-number twitter accounts), to gather together the most frequent criticisms of the movie.

Brace yourself, things are about to get intense.

The Last Jedi is ‘too political’

This comes up time and time again – Rian Johnson’s film is perceived to be pushing an unwelcome agenda of inclusivity, diversity and feminism. Kathy Kennedy seems to be the main target of fans’ ire when it comes to this stuff.

The theory seems be to that the producer has suddenly become ‘woke’ after 36 years in the business, and has decided that Star Wars is the best platform for her progressive politics. As opposed to, say, reading the market and responding to it.

The Last Jedi ‘disregards the fans’

Fans put quite a lot of effort into a wide variety of fan theories about a whole bunch of stuff in the lead-up to The Last Jedi’s release. Who was Snoke? Who are Rey’s parents? Why is Luke on that island? Johnson actively disregarded every single one of them, subverting expectations in such an extreme way that it seemed to make the very practise of fan theorising redundant. This perceived slight has made many of them extremely angry, it seems to be one of the main driving forces behind the compulsion to remake the film – the ultimate expression of fan fiction.

The Last Jedi ‘treats the legacy characters with disrespect’

Whether it was Han Solo’s death at the hands of Kylo Ren apparently having no massive impact on the plot of The Last Jedi, Princess Leia flying through space ‘like Mary Poppins’ or – worst of all – Luke Skywalker dying before he had a bad-ass moment to equal Darth Vader at the end of Rogue One, fans feel like the legacy characters were especially ill-treated.

Where we saw an intricately weaved tribute to the character’s origins (Luke was a character called into action by a projection of his sister in A New Hope, who saved his sister by becoming a projection that turned him into a new hope in The Last Jedi), they saw betrayal – their hero turned into a grumpy old man too scared to help the rebellion (from a certain point of view).

The Last Jedi ‘isn’t as good as the films I grew up on’

Ultimately, The Last Jedi is a film about the denial of wish fulfilment, one which encourages its audience to relinquish its nostalgia for the past, in order to look to the future. Its heroes make mistakes, learn and grow through experience. For some reason, there’s something about that narrative that bothers people who cling to their childhood memories of the original trilogy.

It appears they believe that their criticism of Rian Johnson’s film is for the greater good of generations of kids who won’t get to grow up on movies that mean as much to them as the original trilogy did for those fans. That’s ignoring the fact that, right now, Avengers: Infinity War is the new Empire Strikes Back, with Marvel the movie-makers who are creating those kinds of memories.

But will JJ listen to fan complaints, and make the film they all want to see? Short answer, no.

When asked if he’s adjusting Episode IX based on The Last Jedi backlash, JJ said, “Not in the least. There’s a lot that I would like to say about it, but I feel like it’s a little early to be having the Episode IX conversation … I will say that the story of Rey and Poe and Finn and Kylo Ren — and if you look, there are three men and one woman, to those that are complaining that there are too many women in Star Wars — their story continues in a way that I couldn’t be more excited about and cannot wait for people to see.”

So, it looks like this war is going to continue…

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