The latest and final installment in Lucasfilm's Skywalker Saga has been a financial success and another billion dollar hit for Disney, but there's no denying that the reactions to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker have been quite mixed. Critics and audiences have proven to have divisive responses to the film, and subsequent leaks about concept art and scrapped plots have proven to provide constant fodder for online discussions. But as the ending to the long-running and fan-favorite franchise, there are decidedly mixed feelings about Episode IX. It sounds like J.J. Abrams is aware of the reactions to the movie as he prepares for his new projects after Star Wars.
While appearing alongside Bad Robot CEO (and Abrams' wife) Katie McGrath at the 2020 Upfront Summit in Los Angeles, Abrams recognized the mixed reactions to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and said his goal was to "do the best you can with everything you have."
"The truth is that these are things that are meant to entertain people, to make them feel something and hopefully make them feel good," said Abrams explained. "Obviously, it doesn’t always work. It’s hard when it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, you have to understand it, you have to acknowledge it, you have to examine it."
Abrams previously addressed the negative reviews to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker while appearing at a Q&A event after a screening, and he supported fans' rights to their less-than-positive opinions.
"I'd say that they're right," Abrams said of the negative fan response. "The people who love it more than anything are also right. I was asked... 'How did you go about pleasing everyone?' I was like, what? Not to say that should be what anyone tries to do anyway, but how would one even go about it? Especially with Star Wars. I don't need to tell anyone here, we live in a moment where everything immediately seems to default to outrage. And there's a kind of M.O. of it's either exactly as I see it or you're my enemy."
He added, "It's a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance — it's not about Star Wars, it's about everything — and compassion and acceptance... It's a crazy moment, so we knew starting this any decision we made, a design decision, a musical decision, a narrative decision would please someone and infuriate someone else. And they're all right."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is still playing in theaters.