Star Wars: JJ Abrams denies ‘repairing’ franchise after The Last Jedi backlash

Rian Johnson’s 2017 film proved controversial among certain franchise fans

Adam White@__adamwhite
Sunday 29 September 2019 12:53
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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker - 'D23 Special Look’ Trailer

JJ Abrams has denied that his return to the Star Wars franchise was an attempt to “repair” it following controversy over The Last Jedi.

After directing 2015’s The Force Awakens, Abrams was replaced for its follow-up by director Rian Johnson.

But Johnson’s narrative choices ignited a backlash from certain fans, with more than 100,000 people signing a petition to have the film removed from Star Wars canon.

Speaking to Empire Magazine, Abrams said that his recruitment as director of the forthcoming Last Jedi sequel The Rise of Skywalker was not an attempt to fix Johnson’s creative decisions.

“I never found myself trying to repair anything,” Abrams said. “If I had done [The Last Jedi], I would have done things differently, just as Rian would have done things differently if he had done [The Force Awakens].”

He continued, “But having worked on television series, I was accustomed to creating stories and characters that then were run by other people. If you’re willing to walk away from the thing that you created and you believe it’s in trustworthy hands, you have to accept that some of the decisions being made are not gonna be the same that you would make.

“And if you come back into it, you have to honour what’s been done.”

In April, Johnson told MTV that he wouldn’t be upset if Abrams reworked story decisions he made in The Last Jedi, specifically his controversial choice to have the parents of trilogy hero Rey (Daisy Ridley) revealed not to be important to Star Wars mythology but instead “filthy junk traders”.

“I want to let go of all my expectations,” he said. “I want to sit back. I want to be entertained. I want to be surprised. I want to be thrilled.

“I want him to do stuff that I wasn’t expecting him to do, and just go along for the ride. For me, that’s why I go to the movies, you know?”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released on the 19 December.

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