Director J.J. Abrams went into production Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker knowing it would be “divisive and controversial,” no matter what choices were made during the making of episodic saga's final chapter. Abrams, who previously defended Star Wars enthusiasts when he said fans of the franchise shouldn't be looked at as an adversary, admits he wasn't “worried” about fan reaction to what has been touted as the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga because he expected a mix of opinions, all equally valid, to swirl around The Rise of Skywalker — and you can't please everyone.
“Everything,” Abrams told BBC Radio 5 when asked to identify the part of Skywalker he lost the most sleep over. “The logistics of shooting the set pieces, because the scope of the pictures is pretty huge, so how we were going to do any of it was enormous. Obviously, the narrative of the film, what we were saying, what we were gonna do. Just because no matter what we did, we knew it was gonna be divisive and controversial.”
Asked if he was worried about Skywalker proving divisive, Abrams answered, “I wasn’t worried about it. We knew, at the very beginning — it was before we even started it — that it was a given that no matter what choice we made, it was gonna [upset some fans and] there would be factions.”
When host Simon Mayo cited “The Fandom Menace,” Abrams noted it’s “not necessarily even any one group. Anyone.”
“Someone just asked me, ‘Did you go about trying to please everyone?’ And I said — not that I would want that to be the case, that shouldn’t be the approach — but how would you do that? What is the way to please everyone? There is no fan that represents all the fans,” he said. “Everyone has their own opinion. And whether or not you’re part of a group or not, everyone is right. Everyone has their opinion.”
Abrams is referencing a Skywalker showing and panel during which the filmmaker addressed negative reviews to the film, where he said praise or criticisms surrounding Skywalker are both correct.
“Do I wish — and this is far beyond a Star Wars issue — that opinion didn’t immediately go to outrage, didn’t immediately go to attacking and cruelty? I think the sort of MO at the moment seems to be that people go to these crazy hyperbolic and often cruel states defending their politics, their nationality, their race, their sexual preference, the films they love — it’s like you’re not making a statement if you’re not doing it in a vitriolic way, and I just think that’s unfortunate,” Abrams said. “Star Wars is part of all of that, but we approached the story, hopefully, from the inside out, hoping that it would affect people and knowing that some people would love it and some wouldn’t.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.
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