When J.J. Abrams first took the helm of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, he had an overarching vision for how the saga would end. And then came The Last Jedi. The film seemed to have taken a hard turn from the storyline Abrams had envisioned. From how the film dealt with Rey’s parentage, to its treatment of the Luke Skywalker character, The Last Jedi was definitely a departure from The Force Awakens. Even Abrams himself noted the difficulties of filming The Rise of Skywalker in The Last Jedi’s aftermath. But did Rian Johnson derail the sequel trilogy?
If you read our pages regularly you know that I am no fan of Rian Johnson. And while I didn’t care for The Last Jedi, I didn’t hate it. And I’m certainly not so childish, as are some fans, to claim that a simple movie “ruined my childhood.” In fact, I personally feel that the film could have been incredible with just a couple, minor tweaks.
For me, the biggest example of Johnson’s inability to understand fans’ connection to Luke Skywalker was in deleting the scene in which Luke lamented Han’s death. It was a poignant scene that would have deeply connected fans to the character they’ve loved for decades. Instead… we got a tossed lightsaber and green milk from alien teats. For all its faults, however, even I can admit that The Last Jedi did not derail the sequel trilogy.
J.J. Abrams confirms Episode VIII did not derail the sequel trilogy
Speaking with ET Canada recently, Abrams noted that “the story that we’re telling, the story that we started to conceive when we did The Force Awakens was allowed to continue. Episode VIII didn’t really derail anything that we were thinking about.” That is especially true if, as Abrams has suggested in other interviews, Palpatine was intended as the main villain all along. So, while The Last Jedi didn’t derail the sequel trilogy, it nevertheless still had a strong effect on it… but there’s no effect that can’t be overcome, if necessary.
Abrams is a talented director who has already shown that he understands Star Wars and the fans that adore it. The Force Awakens was a perfect blend of new characters and nostalgia. I’ve no doubt that The Rise of Skywalker will continue in that vein.
No, The Last Jedi did not derail the sequel trilogy. J.J. Abrams will see to that.