Filmmaker J.J. Abrams has given his first post-release comments about “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” during an interview on Friday following a screening of the film at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The movie has received the second-worst reviews of the whole series by critics, the lowest ever CinemaScore for a “Star Wars” live-action film from audiences, and quite strongly positive reviews in audience polls on aggregate sites – indicating the film has ended up being as divisive as the last one, albeit in a different way.
Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican (via Twitter) asked him what would you say to people who don’t like what happens or wish it was something different, is there a problem with the fandom?
“No, I would say that they’re right. The people who love it more than anything are also right. I was asked just seven hours ago in another country, ‘So how do you go about pleasing everyone?’ I was like ‘What…?’ Not to say that should be what anyone tries to do anyway, but how would one go about it? Especially with Star Wars.
I don’t need to tell anyone here, we live in a moment where everything immediately seems to default to outrage. There is an MO of either: ‘It’s exactly as I see it, or you’re my enemy’… It’s a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be void of nuance and compassion – and this is not [a phenomenon] about Star Wars, this is about everything…it’s a crazy moment.
So we knew starting this any decision we made – a design decision, a musical decision, a narrative decision – would please someone and infuriate someone else. And they’re all right.”
Abrams also shot down talk of any discord between him and ‘The Last Jedi’ director Rian Johnson saying:
“It would be a much more interesting answer if there were conflict. The truth is when I was getting [The Force Awakens] up and running, I was nothing but grateful that a director and writer I admire as much as Rian was coming in to do [the next one.] Not expecting to come back to this, it was just fun to watch what was happening and get to respond to it.”
Some of the madness over ‘Skywalker’ spilled out into a public setting in Vancouver on Thursday night with video surfacing of part of an incident. A man was allegedly punched in the face for checking his phone during the film’s opening crawl. That wasn’t captured, but the aftermath of that has gone online as the cinema stopped the film and the man who threw the punch berated the audience for not turning off their phones and stormed out.
The victim of the punch, identified as Joe Bond, was interviewed by CTV News and says the film was the first ‘date night’ for him and his wife since they’d had their second child who was having trouble sleeping. Bond was checking his texts for a few seconds for notices from their babysitter to make sure their little one went down when his seat neighbor became irate and physical. Bond also says the couple sitting in front of him were recording the opening crawl with their phones which also annoyed the irritated puncher.
So far there’s been no other reports of issues at other screenings of the film. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is expected to have an opening weekend of around $176 million domestically this weekend.