While many Star Wars fans appreciated the ways in which Star Wars: The Last Jedi took the franchise into new and unexpected directions, some devout fans were disappointed with the choices made by Lucasfilm, writer/director Rian Johnson, and the rest of the cast and crew, resulting in a vocal backlash against the sequel. Director JJ Abrams confirmed that the response to that film had no impact on how he developed Star Wars: Episode IX.
"No, I think that every movie is its own movie and, obviously, this is a trilogy," Abrams shared when asked by Entertainment Tonight about if the backlash influenced him. "We brought to that movie all the passion and hard work that we would have no matter what. I think the story speaks for itself."
Interestingly, while the hatred stemming from a small but vocal subset of viewers was quite strong, Abrams himself received backlash when he directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, largely for making a film that felt so similar to the original trilogy. Whether a filmmaker is too safe or too ambitious, it would appear as though there are enough Star Wars fans out there who will happily tell you what you did wrong.
These comments from Abrams confirm the attitude he had before filming had begun, confirming last winter that fan expectations wouldn't dictate his film.
"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."
The filmmaker also noted he's prepared to deal with fans being potentially upset with his film, noting, "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."
Star Wars: Episode IX lands in theaters on December 20th.
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