Rian Johnson Doesn’t Want to Cater to Fans?

The mere idea of Rian Johnson stating that he doesn’t want to cater to Star Wars fans is enough to make a lot of people leery of his intelligence. Obviously he’s an educated man and a celebrated director, but having the gall to state that he doesn’t want to cater to the people that essentially make his profession a profitable one is enough to question his wisdom. Adam White of the Independent has more to say on this matter. It’s easy to think that catering directly to the fans and giving them everything they want would be a huge mistake, as any story line that could conceivably come from such a confusing morass of ideas and opinions would spin out of control rather quickly. But listening, taking certain ideas under advisement, and realizing the level of dedication that the fans have to this story is something that tends to elude Johnson and a few others that have been instrumental in bringing Star Wars to life under the Disney banner. The mere statement that he won’t bother taking the ideas of the fans to heart is about as close to an open insult as there can be. The fact that he’s won awards for The Last Jedi stings a bit since it’s an admittance that no matter the backlash from the fans, Johnson can still laugh all the way to the bank and back since for one reason or another the critics vindicated him, as did many fans that seem to care not a bit that those in control of the Star Wars franchise are doing as they please without any regard for the people that are paying the bills.

Think about that for a moment. If no one is willing to pay for a movie, it makes no money. If people realize that those making the movie don’t care what they think, it’s likely that said people might very well start turning the other way, though it has yet to happen yet. In fact as it’s been reported by J.J. Goodman of ThatHashTagShow.com Rian Johnson’s Star Wars trilogy is still on track to be made despite the fact that his controversial movie, The Last Jedi, has drummed up more discontent than even The Empire Strikes Back generated back in the day. From the ‘girl power’ feeling that was given throughout the movie to the horrible manner he treated Luke Skywalker with, Johnson is still somehow being praised by people when it comes to the manner in which he directed a movie that is still getting hate from many a fan that feels as though it was a betrayal of the franchise. My own personal feelings aside (I still think the EU had promise) it’s a big risk that Disney is taking, but given that Star Wars is just another product to sell when it comes to the interests of the Mouse House it’s not too surprising that they’re willing to grind it into the mud so long as it turns a profit. In a way it’s like watching someone use a fine garment that was treasured and looked upon with pride by others as a rag to clean up their messes. Thus far Johnson’s trilogy is still on and apparently will take a different route through the Star Wars universe, likely in a manner that will be hard to recognize if he gets his way no doubt.

It sounds a bit petulant doesn’t it? As a writer I tend to want to encourage any story, to say that it has some worth, and with some humility I can state that Johnson’s story does have some merit, but the desire is to see him create a story that’s NOT Star Wars, so that he can stop the ruination that’s already been started. Hopefully The Rise of Skywalker is an epic that can make up for his misstep, but bringing Johnson back in to write and direct anything else that has the Star Wars name on it feels like a huge mistake as people are already fully riled and not willing to trust his judgement any longer, especially if he’s not going to listen to any criticism, be it good or bad. Like it or not, the fans are the ones that make the movie work, as they’re the ones that are forking over the money for the merchandise and the tickets. Matthew Jacobs of Huffpost has an interesting take on this. If ticket sales go down, then the movie doesn’t make back its enormous budget, and maybe, just maybe, Johnson might come to realize just how much he needs the fans and should think about opening his ears a time or two. But being serious, that’s not likely to happen since the audience numbers for Star Wars are bound to be humongous since it’s a loved story and the hope that it will come back to an even keel is something that keeps people in the seats. It’s hard to admit that Johnson’s movie was seen as a success, but it’s the truth.

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