From avoiding addressing Supreme Leader Snoke's backstory to claiming that Rey's parents were "nobodies" to making Luke Skywalker turn his back on the Force, some audiences weren't entirely happy with the decisions made by The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson. Some viewers have called for the film to be erased from official canon, yet Episode IX director J.J. Abrams is opting to ignore those complaints when moving forward with the next installment in the Skywalker Saga.
“Not in the least,” Abrams told IndieWire if he was adjusting his film to fans' expectations. “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.”
Another disturbing trend among audiences insulting the film spawns from new characters Admiral Holdo and Rose Tico, as they proved to be more capable leaders than male counterparts audiences met in The Force Awakens, as well as the focus on Rey being the Resistance's hope for the future and not Luke. Abrams pointed out that the dismissal of these characters came from a place of feeling threatened.
“If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in Star Wars," Abrams pointed out. "You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.”
This isn't to say that Abrams has anything against the film's detractors, accepting that being involved in the Star Wars franchise subjects you to passionate and vocal fans.
“Certainly something I discovered early on in the Star Wars world, is that you’re going to have an incredibly passionate and vocal fanbase, and they’re all going to have a lot of specific opinions,” Abrams noted.
Episode IX is slated to begin shooting this summer for a release on December 20, 2019.