Aside from J.J. Abrams, no filmmaker is more linked to the current era of the “Star Wars” films than “Looper” and “Brick” helmer Rian Johnson.
Johnson’s 2017 film “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the follow-up to Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” proved polarising and divisive amongst the fandom, mostly for the way it defied expectations of fandom rather than pander to them.
However you feel about the film, there’s no doubt that Johnson was on the receiving end of some pretty brutal criticism from fans in the two years since the film’s release. Speaking with the Creative Processing Podcast (via Cinema Blend), Johnson explained that the social media backlash ultimately had one positive effect:
“In terms of the bad stuff, I’ll tell you it’s interesting. That’s been one of the really healthy things for me about the past couple of years, is getting exposed to it. Before I made The Last Jedi, I had never had anyone hate me on the internet. If during the course of a year I got one negative tweet I would go into a panic. I’d be like ‘Oh my god, someone out there doesn’t like me. I need to fix this!’ The thing is though, I am really really thankful. Because what that meant is that my sense of self-worth was attached to the notion of everybody liking me online. And the fact that this process has made me, out of survival, disconnect from that.
Also it’s given me a more realistic view of the system that is social media. There’s a lot of great, genuine interaction that goes on. The bad stuff, the systematic trolling, the almost game-ified abuse that some people devote their entire online presence to; honestly, once you’ve seen enough of it, you see the pattern of it. It just sort of gets boring after a while. It doesn’t even give me that little negative ping anymore. And I don’t think it’s even my skin growing tough. It’s just I’ve put in perspective. I realize this is kind of a byproduct of this social Twitter system. There’s going to be some degree of people where this is their hobby, basically. So overall I found it made me adjust to social media where I’m seeing it and using it in a healthier way.”
The comments come as Johnson’s new film “Knives Out” is drawing rave reviews and has just opened in cinemas. Johnson remains attached to some more “Star Wars” films on the way, but the fate of those films remain in question for now.