Over the last four decades, the Star Wars franchise has benefitted from having some of the most passionate fans in the galaxy. From merchandising to media, from cosplaying to roleplaying, the Skywalker Saga has been part and parcel with a community that has grown up with and supported the franchise throughout multiple generations. And with such a rabid fandom comes some more toxic elements, as there are also people who tend to take that passion a step too far. That's not to say that everyone who criticizes Star Wars is a "bad fan," but there's no denying that some people take their passion a step too far.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams recognizes this point all too well. After Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered in theaters, he received a lot of criticism for myriad reasons, even though the film went on to gross billions of dollars at the box office.
"You just have to be grateful for them, because you don't want to be working on something no-one cares about," said Abrams. "And you have to understand that they've got their opinions and, of course, you have to value them. You're never going to please everyone, you have to know that going in, and just do the best you can. I'm nothing but thankful as someone who considers myself a fan. I can't wait for them to see the film."
In recent years, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has proved to be divisive among the fandom, and while debates rage on over whether Abrams would be course-correcting after that, the director made it clear that he's sticking to the path that Rian Johnson laid out.
"The story that we're telling, the story that we started to conceive when we did The Force Awakens was allowed to continue. Episode VIII didn't really derail anything that we were thinking about," Abrams explained to the Associated Press. "But I will say that the fun of this movie is that these characters are all together on this adventure as a group. That's the thing that I was most excited about to see, the dynamic between these characters that these amazing actors play on this desperate, seat-of-your-pants adventure. That, to me, was the most fun, having the group together."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres in theaters on December 20th.