J.J. Abrams Responds to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Backlash, Calls for Nuance and Acceptance from Fans

Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved to be a more controversial movie than anyone could have expected. The Star Wars franchise back in full force following the success of the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. No one expected the Rian Johnson-directed sequel to subvert so many of the expectations set by The Force Awakens. Some fans loved what Johnson did with the Star Wars mythology. Others hated how he defused the lingering mysteries of the previous film. Others were still bitter from when The Force Awakens opened about the sequel trilogy’s diverse cast or Rey’s supposed “Mary Sue” status.

Abrams returns to close out the trilogy, and the Skywalker saga, in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He spoke about the fan response to The Last Jedi, and Star Wars fandom in general, in an interview with Esquire.

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“I think that the bigger question is: How has everything changed?” Abrams says. “The reaction to Star Wars, the increased attacks, the increased negativity, the Fandom Menace as they call it, you know, that is not unique to Star Wars, obviously. And I think we live in a time where if you’re not being divisive, if you’re not creating something that’s aversive quick-bait, sometimes you don’t quite feel like you’re playing the game. I always loved Star Wars because it’s got a huge heart. Did I always believe in and agree with every single thing that happened in every movie, whether it was the prequels or the original trilogy? No. But do I love Star Wars? Yes. So, for me, I hope -- and I’m sure naively -- we can return to a time where we give things a bit more latitude. We don’t have to agree with every single thing to love something. I don’t know anyone who has a spouse or a partner or any family member or any friend, who loves and agrees with every single thing that that person is and does. We have to return, I think, to nuance and acceptance. And so I feel like, as a Star Wars fan, do I love every single thing about each of the movies? No. But do I love Star Wars? Hell yes, I do.”

What do you think of Abrams’ take on Star Wars fandom? Let us know in the comments. The sequel trilogy and the Skywalker saga conclude in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, opening in theaters on December 20th.

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