Rian Johnson says he got death threats after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Apr 3, 2018, 11:30 AM EDT

It's no secret that some (or at least a loud portion of) Star Wars fans hated or strongly disliked The Last Jedi. They took offense at things like a cynical Luke Skywalker, Snoke's demise at the hands of Kylo Ren, Leia going full Mary Poppins Force mode, and Rey's non-backstory. Where The Force Awakens was too familiar to the original trilogy, The Last Jedi was too different, they complained. If anything, the eighth Star Wars episode proved that fans of the franchise are extremely tough customers and some take their devotion to this universe a little too seriously. 

“There were death threats," the movie's writer-director Rian Johnson told The Standard. "It’s balanced by a few things — 90 percent of the stuff I got online was not only lovely and encouraging but phenomenally thoughtful. Fans would send me essays on the movie. The other 10 per cent is just loud and gets amplified. At first I was freaked out, but then I realised the things people were angry about are the things I’m most proud about.”

So, The Last Jedi was polarizing to say the least, but threatening a filmmaker with death just because he wanted to take a few risks with an established property is never acceptable. Even if you don't like what Johnson did, you can still respect him for the fresh new directions in which he steered Star Wars and the cool stuff he put onscreen. The Holdo Maneuver (executed by Laura Dern's character) and DJ's spiel on the futility of the galactic conflict were things we'd never seen or heard before in these films and for these elements alone, Jonhson should be commended on his fresh approach to this franchise. 

Luckily for us, he's no dummy and realizes that trying to satisfy every single fan just isn't a good practice when crafting these stories. While speaking at SXSW about the new trilogy he's helping develop at Lucasfilm, he said as much.

“I feel like every Star Wars thing that ever gets made has a big, loud response, because Star Wars fans are passionate, and that’s what makes them awesome,” he said. “And, you know... I don’t think it’s possible when you’re...if you're really telling a story you care about, and having it come from your heart, it's kind of ... it’s just not possible to be intellectually processing, like, what everyone else wants. Nor would it be a good thing, a healthy thing. I don’t think that’s a good way to tell a story.”