The latest chapter in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, has arguably become the most divisive series yet, with many fans praising the bold directions writer/director Rian Johnson has explored while other decry the changes he made to beloved characters. Some fans have directed their ire at the film's female characters, like Laura Dern's Admiral Holdo and Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico, with one viewer even editing a version of the film without any women in it. The Force Awakens and Episode IX director J.J. Abrams claims that it's not a problem with the film itself, but rather that these fans feel "threatened" by women.
"Star Wars is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in Star Wars," Abrams told IndieWire. "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. 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."
Some audiences were so upset with The Last Jedi that they called for it to be erased from official canon. To the dismay of those "fans," their complaints won't impact the franchise's future.
"Not in the least," Abrams admitted about the outcry changing his vision. "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."
From his experiences with Star Wars and also with rebooting the Star Trek franchise, Abrams admitted he's no stranger to passionate fans expressing their negative feelings.
"I think everyone is going to have their point of view," Abrams said. "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 is slated to begin shooting Episode IX this year, which hits theaters on December 20, 2019.