Rian Johnson Is Still Not Sorry About Luke in ‘The Last Jedi’

Anyone who likes Star Wars knows all about the discourse that goes down online. People are passionate about Jedi and all their favorite people in a galaxy far, far away, but some can get a little heated. Especially when topics like the prequels or Jar Jar Binks are brought up. And since 2017’s The Last Jedi came out, it’s also been a point of much contention for some fans. A lot of that hate went towards Rian Johnson, the writer and director of the film. Despite all that, Johnson still stands by his decisions, especially when it comes to Luke’s arc. 

Rian Johnson at the 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' press conference in Tokyo, Japan.
Rian Johnson at the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ press conference in Tokyo, Japan | Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Disney

‘The Last Jedi’ received a lot of backlash, especially when it comes to Luke Skywalker

The Last Jedi was a spectacular example of going out of the box, even in a sci-fi fantasy landscape like Star Wars. The movie mixed humor into the film in a way it hadn’t been done before. The visuals were unique as well, like the vibrant red room Rey and Kylo Ren fight Snoke’s guards in. Rey and Kylo Ren’s Force-connection was also unlike anything fans had seen before, and overall it was fresh. 

Despite all that and the criticism that The Force Awakens had played it too safe, some fans still didn’t like this turn. Luke Skywalker’s end and characterization rubbed them the wrong way, too. As one Twitter user shared recently, Johnson “completely destroys the character of #LukeSkywalker and almost derailed the franchise.” 

Mark Hamill also initially disliked the version of Luke he read in the script, but after watching the movie, he admitted he was wrong. “I think being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing because if I was just another benevolent Jedi training young padawans, we’ve seen it,” he told IMDb in 2017. He later tweeted that he regretted ever airing his dislike to the public in the first place and said Johnson made an “an all-time GREAT” movie. 

Rian Johnson stands by his decisions with the film

Well, that Twitter user’s opinion got the attention of Johnson. He responded on Twitter on Dec. 19. “Gil, I understand that point of view but I completely disagree with it,” he wrote. “In fact, I think it disrespects the character of Luke by treating him not as a true mythic hero overcoming recurring wounds & flaws, but as a video game character who has achieved a binary, permanent power-up.”

This is not the first time Johnson has responded to criticism of his movie’s Luke. On Nov. 5, 2018, Johnson told another user on Twitter, “Luke is in fact 100% consistent with his character (not the way he’s described in marketing blurbs, but his actual, based-on-his-words-and-actions character) from the OT [original trilogy].”  

Johnson knew about the passionate ‘Star Wars’ fans before he even signed on

Ram Bergman, Daisy Ridley, Rian Johnson, and Mark Hamill pose at the 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' fan event in Mexico City, Mexico.
Ram Bergman, Daisy Ridley, Rian Johnson, and Mark Hamill at the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ fan event in Mexico City, Mexico | Victor Chavez/Getty Images

Johnson told Wired in November that he wasn’t oblivious to how Star Wars fans can be when he started the film. “People care deeply about Star Wars, and every single person has a slightly different version of what they think Star Wars is,” Johnson said. “And so much of the fun of it is arguing about it.” He was a fan when the prequels came out, after all. 

And don’t feel too bad about Johnson getting hate. He said that “ninety-five percent” of his Twitter interactions are great and “constructive.” The backlash to The Last Jedi didn’t scare him off from the franchise at all, and there are rumors he’ll make more. Whatever happens, fans of The Last Jedi would be excited to have him back.