Star Wars: The Last Jedi delivered fans the continued adventures of Luke Skywalker, marking his first significant screen presence since we saw him in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, making it a highly-anticipated event in the world of fandom. With that film depicting him as a former hero who had fallen from grace, in addition to other creative choices made by writer/director Rian Johnson, the movie earned a strongly divisive reaction from audiences, the effects of which continue to be felt to this day. The backlash made a heavy impact on the film's cast and crew, with one journalist noting that the impact of that reception seemingly had been settled before filming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Vanity Fair journalist Lev Grossman recently published a massive article about his experience interviewing the cast and crew of the upcoming film and participated in a Reddit AMA about his experience. One fan asked if he noticed if the backlash had any effect on the individuals he spoke with.
"I didn't hear a lot about the fan backlash [to be honest]," the journalist replied. "I got the sense people had made their peace with it. Mostly people seemed emotionally wrung out -- filming this movie was intense for them, it was a big part of their lives and they kind of can't believe it's over."
The negative reactions from fans didn't have any impact on The Last Jedi's box office, as it went on to earn $1.3 billion worldwide. Additionally, unless social media is your primary source of human interaction, most Star Wars fans are oblivious to the vocal minority of fans who have created petitions demanding the film be erased from history or the racist and sexist remarks that have been lobbed at members of the film's cast.
It goes without saying that there are many fans who disliked that film for justifiable reasons, though it's the more ignorant fans who give all critics of the film a bad name. Additionally, when speaking to anyone who disliked the film, you'll find numerous examples of what they didn't like, making it difficult to pin the critiques on just one aspect of the film.
No matter what fans didn't like or how loudly they proclaimed it, director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the backlash didn't impact the development of The Rise of Skywalker in any capacity.
"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."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.
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