JJ Abrams Piles On 'The Last Jedi', Criticizes Film's "Meta" Approach

With The Rise of Skywalker only days away, suddenly there's been a flurry of stories bashing the previous film, The Last Jedi. A target since Rian Johnson directed the divisive film, it's suddenly being hit with renewed attacks by the Star Wars cast, including Daisy Ridley and most-recently John Boyega. Even JJ Abrams is piling on now with his comments to NY Times, which suggest his movie is going to veer wildly in the opposite direction from Johnson's.

The issue with The Last Jedi has nothing to do with box office or critical reviews. It's mostly fan reaction to Johnson's handling of seemingly major plot threads, such as Rey's parentage and the fate of Luke Skywalker. Every decision Johnson made has set off a certain segment of fans who feel he took a dismissive approach, waving these storylines away as unimportant. Abrams actually has praise for Johnson initially, saying it was “full of surprises and subversion and all sorts of bold choices.”

He then delivers the unexpected right cross, “On the other hand, it’s a bit of a meta approach to the story. I don’t think that people go to ‘Star Wars’ to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter.’”

I would disagree with Abrams' assessment of what Johnson did. That Rey is, at least for now, just an orphan of unknown parentage is as meaningful to her as anything else might've been. I suspect Abrams will change all of that, however.

He does add that The Last Jedi was vitally important to creating “a story that I think needed a pendulum swing in one direction in order to swing in the other.”

Whether intentional or not (and I definitely think it's intentional), there are jabs at The Last Jedi everywhere. Ridley said she "cried" upon learning of Abrams' return, because he added a sense of structure and security...the implication being that Johnson did not.

Boyega continued expressing his dissatisfaction that the story which Abrams began in The Force Awakens took a detour under Johnson's guidance. He said, “Even as a normal person in the audience, I wanted to see where that story was going,”

Ridley's comments about stability and structure are interesting because, apparently, the day-to-day of crafting The Rise of Skywalker weren't particularly stable. The article notes a process that saw "a behind-the-scenes process in which major plot elements and whole swaths of dialogue were being reworked up to and on the days they were filmed."  If this were any other movie with a detail like that, we'd see thinkpieces written about the movie's inevitable failure, but nobody wants that kind of bad mojo surrounding the end of the Skywalker Saga.

All I'm going to say is constantly attacking The Last Jedi doesn't make me want to see The Rise of Skywalker any more or less. JJ Abrams is a very different filmmaker than Rian Johnson, and nobody thought he was going to make the same kind of movie. When this is over I just hope this trilogy makes sense, both directors' visions come together cohesively, and the story ends in a way that's satisfying. We'll find out on December 20th.