Despite the untold damage his subversive experiment did to both the franchise’s reputation and its box office plans, Rian Johnson says he’s “more proud” now of the work he did with Star Wars: The Last Jedi than he ever was before.
Johnson spoke to his own continued appreciation for The Last Jedi during a recent retrospective interview with Empire given in honor of the widely-panned film’s fifth anniversary, asserting outright that he was “even more proud of it five years on” as “when I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball.”
“I think it’s impossible for any of us to approach Star Wars without thinking about it as a myth that we were raised with, and how that myth, that story, baked itself into us and affected us,” the Looper and Knives Out director told the movie news outlet.
Turning to address the many, many controversial directorial decisions he made in service of deconstructing the general Star Wars mythos and subverting audience expectations, Johnson argued that “the ultimate intent [of the film] was not to strip away – the intent was to get to the basic, fundamental power of myth.”
“And ultimately,” he added, “I hope the film is an affirmation of the power of the myth of Star Wars in our lives.”
Johnson also offered a defense of his highly-polarizing choice to kill off original trilogy hero and arguable face-of-the-franchise Luke Skywalker explaining to Empire that “The final images of the movie, to me, are not deconstructing the myth of Luke Skywalker, they’re building it, and they’re him embracing it.”
“They’re him absolutely defying the notion of, ‘Throw away the past,’ and embracing what actually matters about his myth and what’s going to inspire the next generation,” he said of Luke’s becoming one with The Force. “So for me, the process of stripping away is always in the interest of getting to something essential that really matters.”
Unfortunately for Johnson, not only did his efforts fail to land with audiences, considering the fact that each year sees his previously announced trilogy kept on the company’s back burner, they appear to have also failed to impress Disney itself.
Johnson’s full interview with Empire can be found in the outlet’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery issue when it hits shelves this Thursday.