Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Actor Says Fan Backlash Is "Inevitable"

There will "inevitability" be backlash against Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and its ending because you "can't please everybody all of the time," says franchise newcomer Richard E. Grant, who portrays the First Order's Allegiant General Pryde. The actor anticipates "Game of Thrones syndrome," referring to mixed-to-negative reactions to the fan-favorite HBO fantasy drama series that came to an end after eight seasons earlier this year. In The Rise of Skywalker, writer-director J.J. Abrams will attempt to bridge all nine episodes in the 40-year saga to bring the Skywalker Saga to its conclusion — and in doing so, Grant says, Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio had to be "honest and true" to themselves.

"People feel incredibly passionate and possessive about it," Grant told io9. "I understand that because I have been a Star Wars fan since I was 20 years old in 1977 when I was a drama student."

Grant, who also appeared in Game of Thrones and the fan-favorite Doctor Who franchise, expects most fans to be satisfied when the Star Wars franchises closes out its storied saga.

"Inevitably there will be a Game of Thrones syndrome to Star Wars because you can't please everybody all of the time," Grant said. "And the ending, what people want it to be and what it actually is, hopefully, for the majority of people seeing it, they will feel that they've had their wishes fulfilled. But inevitably there's gonna be people that don't feel that way. And you can't anticipate that. You have to do what is honest and true to you. And I think that J.J. and Chris have done that to the absolute ends of their ability."

Abrams previously said fans "don't have to agree with every single thing to love something" — whether that be Star Wars or something else — when calling for a return to "nuance and acceptance" in franchise filmmaking.

"The reaction to Star Wars, the increased attacks, the increased negativity, the Fandom Menace as they call it, you know, that is not unique to Star Wars, obviously. And I think we live in a time where if you're not being divisive, if you're not creating something that's aversive quick-bait, sometimes you don't quite feel like you're playing the game," Abrams told Esquire. "I always loved Star Wars because it's got a huge heart. Did I always believe in and agree with every single thing that happened in every movie, whether it was the prequels or the original trilogy? No. But do I love Star Wars? Yes. So, for me, I hope — and I'm sure naively — we can return to a time where we give things a bit more latitude. We don't have to agree with every single thing to love something."

He continued, "I don't know anyone who has a spouse or a partner or any family member or any friend, who loves and agrees with every single thing that that person is and does. We have to return, I think, to nuance and acceptance. And so I feel like, as a Star Wars fan, do I love every single thing about each of the movies? No. But do I love Star Wars? Hell yes, I do."


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.