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Star Wars' Rian Johnson sticks up for ‘mythic hero’ Luke Skywalker amid renewed scrutiny

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Dec 20, 2019, 12:08 PM EST

As The Rise of Skywalker closes out the Skywalker saga of Star Wars films, the man behind the franchise’s previous entry, The Last Jedi, is still helping educate fans. The endlessly patient Rian Johnson has been chatting with people about his critically and financially acclaimed Star Wars entry since the film premiered back in 2017.

Some members of the fan base took umbrage at character choices Johnson included in the film; some collaborated with a minority of moviegoers to review-bomb the film and harass its stars. Now, on the eve of The Rise of Skywalker and J.J. Abrams’ return to the trilogy, Johnson continues to illuminate his take on these well-loved characters for those truly missing the point.

In recent response to a long-winded Twitter diatribe, angry with how Luke Skywalker’s character arc over the course of the films culminated with The Last Jedi, Johnson explained the following:

The idea here is that The Last Jedi’s older, cynical, ultimately heroic Luke undoes the Luke of the original trilogy. While Johnson concedes that, yes, this is certainly a point of view that some people have, it’s one that he “completely [disagrees] with.”

Johnson has spoken widely about the importance of Luke’s imperfections in the past—even noting on a podcast a week before The Rise of Skywalker (so, unprompted by the film's early reviews) that pandering to fans, by, say, refusing to let characters grow or change isn’t the answer. “I think approaching any creative process with that would be a mistake that would lead to probably the exact opposite result,” the director said. This idea continues in his social media response.

“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,” Johnson said of the Twitter user’s thoughts. Overcoming these “wounds & flaws” serves as a thematic backbone to The Last Jedi, with even Jedi Master Yoda dropping by to give Luke some much-needed advice about failure.

How Luke continues on — and what his character is like in whatever form that may be — can be seen now that The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters today, Dec. 20.