With The Rise of Skywalker hitting theatres in just one week, the Star Wars publicity machine is fully operational. Which means an onslaught of TV commercials and corporate tie-ins, such as with United Airlines who are apparently forcing passengers to sit in either "good" or "evil" sections of the plane. Perhaps the new movie will reveal that most of its villains joined the First Order thanks to their travel agent.
Not to mention McDonald's, which advertised their Star Wars Happy Meals with an ad in which a family camping trip becomes overrun with Droids. Which sounds cute, but it's actually kind of creepy. Like, is that C-3PO or Jason Voorhees?
But the biggest push by Disney has been putting the cast and director J.J. Abrams front and center, hyping up the new movie, while also ... kind of taking a steaming dump on the previous entry in the Skywalker Saga? In an interview with The New York Times, Abrams criticized The Last Jedi, stating: "it's a bit of a meta approach to the story. I don't think that people go to 'Star Wars' to be told, 'This doesn't matter.'" Which thrilled fans didn't care for The Last Jedi, but angered its supporters, reinvigorating a tired old debate that has a Darth Maul-like refusal to die.
Okay, first of all, it's weird to hear Abrams knock The Last Jedi for its meta-ness when The Force Awakens was clearly all about rebooting the franchise without George Lucas. But on the other hand, you can see where he's coming from; The Last Jedi took a lot of stuff he created for The Force Awakens and literally smashed it to pieces, sliced it in half, or sent it to live on whatever farm upstate housed The Knights of Ren.
That being said, it does seem a tad uncouth to knock the previous entry while promoting the new one. And suggesting that The Last Jedi claimed that any part of Star Wars "doesn't matter" is just plain wrong. Even if you hated The Last Jedi (which for the record, some of us didn't) Abrams comments illustrate what critics on both side of the debate have pointed to as a significant problem: the disjointed flow of Lucasfilm's hiring strategy. They basically hand out Star Wars movies like roses on The Bachelor with no singular storytelling voice providing even a modicum of consistency.
Amazingly Abrams wasn't the only Star Wars team member to prompt a backlash during an interview. Finn himself, John Boyega similarly expressed his misgivings with The Last Jedi, calling it "iffy" and was forced to apologized for his comments on toxic backlash culture that many interpreted as him calling co-star Kelly Marie Tran "weak" for quitting social media due to online bullying. Boyega later clarified that he was "in no way" referring to Tran with his "badly worded" comments.
Obviously Star Wars is a deeply-ingrained part of many of our lives, it's not surprising that new Star Wars anything elicits so many passionate responses, both positive and negative. But we're still an entire week away from even seeing the new movie. Unless, say, Baby Yoda gives an interview defending Woody Allen, can we put a lid on the Star Wars backlashes (and backlashes to backlashes) until next week?
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