Even two years after its release in theaters, fans are still divisive over the last film in the Star Wars trilogy with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And while the filmed proved successful at the box office and earned rave reviews from critics, fans continue to argue over its merits. Some fans who did not enjoy the film began taking to social media for the time-honored tradition of being angry online, some even launching futile petitions to remake the film altogether. But writer and filmmaker Rian Johnson learned to look at the positive aspect of all of the ire.
While appearing on the ReelBlend podcast, Johnson addressed the backlash to Star Wars: The Last Jedi and how it changed his outlook on online culture.
"In terms of the bad stuff, I’ll tell you it’s interesting. That’s been one of the really healthy things for me about the past couple of years, is getting exposed to it," Johnson said. "Before I made The Last Jedi, I had never had anyone hate me on the internet. If during the course of a year I got one negative tweet I would go into a panic. I’d be like ‘Oh my god, someone out there doesn’t like me. I need to fix this!’ The thing is though, I am really really thankful. Because what that meant is that my sense of self-worth was attached to the notion of everybody liking me online. And the fact that this process has made me, out of survival, disconnect from that."
He added that it's transformed how he interacts with negativity on social media — for the better.
"And also it’s given me a more realistic view of the system that is social media. There’s a lot of great, genuine interaction that goes on," Johnson explained. The bad stuff, the systematic trolling, the almost gamified abuse that some people devote their entire online presence to; honestly, once you’ve seen enough of it, you see the pattern of it. It just sort of gets boring after a while. It doesn’t even give me that little negative ping anymore. And I don’t think it’s even my skin growing tough. It’s just I’ve put in perspective. I realize this is kind of a byproduct of this social Twitter system. There’s going to be some degree of people where this is their hobby, basically. So overall I found it made me adjust to social media where I’m seeing it and using it in a healthier way."
The next sequel to The Last Jedi premieres on December 20th with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Johnson's newest film Knives Out is now playing in theaters.