Star Wars: The Clone Wars has just ended its run, and the cast of the highly-acclaimed animated series has been out and about talking in the press (see: our interview with Ahsoka Tano actress Ashley Eckstein!). Well, one Clone Wars star may have started something of a flame-war: Sam Witwer, best known as the voice of Darth Maul, was discussing the controversial Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, which also just wrapped with the equally controversial finale film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In Sam Witwer's view, filmmaker Rian Johnson dropped the ball in a particularly bad way, with his film The Last Jedi!
The Last Jedi Isn't "Star Wars"
Sam Witwer was hosting a Twitch stream for Star Wars: Battlefront II. It was during that stream that the actor shared some of the following thoughts on the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy - in particular The Last Jedi:
"Last Jedi, to me, felt like a movie made by a guy who hadn't quite done his homework." Witwer says. "I think Rian Johnson's a talented guy, but Bruce Lee didn't develop Jeet Kune Do without learning Kung Fu first. You can't reinvent Star Wars without knowing Star Wars first."
The actor went on to cite particular story points he disagreed with, such as Luke not returning sooner to help Leia.
Just My Opinion
In the end, though, Witwer also made sure to give the much-needed caveat to help ward off trolls:
"This is just my opinion, guys. There were a lot of things in The Last Jedi I found compelling in a Rian Johnson filmmaker point of view. They just didn't fit into Star Wars. I don't think he did his Star Wars homework. The themes, what it's about, what the characters are about... as a standalone film, if I don't know what the Jedi are or who Luke is or what he represents, I think there's some compelling things in there. If that's meaningful to you, that's awesome."
No surprisingly, Sam Witwer has seen his comments from that Twitch stream blow up within the Star Wars fandom on social media. The actor has spent subsequent days trying to go online and clarify some of the points he was trying to make during the stream:
Context was - I expressed my opinion of that film, but then shifted to the idea that if you want Star Wars to live on, you have to allow people their turn at bat, like RJ.— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 4, 2020
It's indeed important to watch the video in these kind of cases, before making judgement. Let's all do our homework. In fact, here's the other piece to this discussion:
I Love The Sequels!
I get that everyone loves their headlines, but... Couldn't you just --https://t.co/p8zLCBz2Dj— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 4, 2020
Here's a video of Witwer's immediate follow-up to the "controversial" quote above, in which he praises the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy's accomplishments:
I Love Johnson!
I never personally attacked him or you. I've even put in efforts to set the record straight as to what was really said. ...And *I'm* the jerk.— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 5, 2020
Here's a tweet of Witwer making it clear he totally respects Rian Johnson as a filmmaker!
That Hot Newness
Look, if I'm gonna be totally fair? His newness to it all probably caused him to do the things that the fans of that film liked so much.
Including the stuff you and I would disagree with, and guess what? That's ok.— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 4, 2020
It gets a bit muddled here, as Witwer at once praises Rian Johnson - but also doubles down on the theory that he was too green to truly "know" Star Wars. That's kind of, sorta, the condescending view that's making some fans mad in the first place 😬 😬 😬 ...
Different is Okay!
If you keep watching the clip, I lump Force Unleashed (a Star Wars game I did) in with Last Jedi and Thrawn Trilogy.— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 4, 2020
If it isn't don't by George, it's goijg to have a different point of view, and that's ok.
Witwer repeatedly emphasizes this ultimate point: variety in Star Wars (including deviation from George Lucas' vision) is okay, as it keeps the franchise fresh. He's even been a part of that process (starring in games like The Force Unleashed)
I Don't Speak For George!
Thank you.— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 4, 2020
For the record, I don't claim to know George's vision. That would be a bit much of me to say that. Just my take on what I think is a really cool body of work by an indie filmmaker.
Gotta love it when Star Wars trolls get into the "Who knows George Lucas' mind best?" debates. Regular bunch of Professor X's...
Just Trying to Talk Here...
Maybe it does, but boy. I really hate it when someone picks out a few words to fuel a divisive narrative.
I don't get why someone would do that, so I don't prepare for it like maybe I should.— Sam Witwer (@SamWitwer) May 4, 2020
This is but a small example of why Star Wars actors get so stressed out and don't want to deal with this franchise anymore, guys! Can't we keep just a few nice things around?
Nothing Gained, Nothing Solved
By now it's no secret that the Star Wars fandom is split over Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi - and apparently that schism goes all the way down to the Star Wars actors, as well. For better or worse, Johnson attempted to close the door on certain notions of the Star Wars franchise, and open the door to other, newer ideas. Needless to say, not everyone embraces change openly.
It would be interesting to hear Rian Johnson respond to the statements from Witwer: the director has spent literal years of his time shutting down trolls on social media who claim he doesn't know Star Wars. Johnson has publicly sourced official Star Wars lore (in novels, handbooks, appendixes, etc.) for just about every one of the "controversial" decisions he made in The Last Jedi. So saying he didn't do his homework is a... curious hill to plant your flag on, at this point.0comments
We don't need to know how you feel about Star Wars: The Last Jedi - we've heard it all, by now...
The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Disney+, as is the entire Star Wars Skywalker Saga.