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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Director Rian Johnson Says Catering to Fans ‘Is a Mistake’

“I want to be challenged as a fan when I sit down in the theater,” he says during podcast interview

Just ahead of the opening of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” this weekend, “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson appeared on the  “Swings & Mrs” podcast with Jennifer and Cody Decker and told them that catering to fandoms would be a mistake.

“I think approaching any creative process with that or anything with that second thing you said [making fandoms happy] would be a mistake that would lead to probably the exact opposite result,” Johnson said in the interview.

“Even my experience as a fan, you know if I’m coming into something, even if it’s something that I think I want, if I see exactly what I think I want on the screen, it’s like ‘oh, okay,’ it might make me smile and make me feel neutral about the thing and I won’t really think about it afterwards, but that’s not really going to satisfy me…I want to be shocked, I want to be surprised, I want to be thrown off-guard, I want to have things recontextualized, I want to be challenged as a fan when I sit down in the theater. I think what you want from a movie guides, inevitably, how you go about making them,” he added.

“Star Wars” fans have been divided on the merits of “The Last Jedi” since it was released two years ago. Fans were mad about several different things, including the movie’s treatment of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), among other gripes.

“I think [it’s] the necessary ingredient for something like this. You have to deeply, deeply, deeply love it and care about it and want to honor it and do right by it,” Johnson said of the importance of the “Star Wars” legacy and of making “The Last Jedi.”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opens in theaters on Dec. 20.