The Last Star Wars: What went wrong?

Warning: contains spoilers.


Courtesy of

The Last Jedi is Episode VIII of the Star Wars series.

Juliette Fournier, Photojournalist

After the release of The Last Jedi on December 14th, the movie received unforeseen animosity from the Star Wars fans. Unlike the positive critiques from movie critics, audiences seem to hold a deep hostility towards this movie. What could have caused such an uproar from the Star Wars fan base?

One of the main concerns that arose from Star Wars fans was the realization that all of the white male characters always seemed to do something wrong. In the previous movies, the heroes were all caucasian male characters that always knew what to do. However, in The Last Jedi, the principle heroine is a female. Throughout the movie, females are almost always the ones who make the right moves. Vice Admiral Holdo for example, at first portrayed as a coward, actually saves the Rebellion from being completely destroyed. Meanwhile, Poe makes a complete fool of himself. Similarly, Rose is the one who saves Finn when he is about to sacrifice himself, making Finn realize that his attempt would do nothing but kill him. Luke Skywalker is also negatively portrayed in some parts of the movie when (Spoiler) it is discovered that he was the one who turned Kylo Ren to the Dark Side. In the previous movies, the men were always the heroes. The shift in leadership displeased countless fans who felt their heroes had been destroyed and wrongly portrayed. The various racial backgrounds of the actors, such as a John Boyega as Finn and Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, caused some conflict as well. Meanwhile, Skywalker and Kylo Ren, both white men, are the bad guys of the movie. However, as described by Todd VanDerWerff from Vox in his article ‘The “backlash” against Star Wars: The Last Jedi, explained,’ this critique was not the only reason for the dislike for The Last Jedi. While “it’s tempting to write off the backlash as wholly defined by anti-progressivism,” that is not the sole reason.

On top of the controversy over the heroes of the movie, another aspect of The Last Jedi that displeased fans was the disappointing resolutions to the questions that fans were asking. “Who are Rey’s parents?” was a popular question. When the answer was revealed that they were nobodies, fans were outraged. Many wanted a whole backstory that would help them make sense of her immense power; it left a whole world of opportunity for fanfiction. Therefore, it’s understandable that fans were disappointed to find such a simple explanation.

In addition, people criticized the movie for being filled with plot holes. Though it does seem this way through most of the movie, most of the “plot holes” are eventually explained. Many criticize Rose and Finn’s journey to be completely irrelevant to the movie since their mission was ultimately a failure. However, it does ultimately reveal that the Rebellion’s cause is not completely lost when the child is shown at the end. It also seems as though fans are forgetting that there is still one more movie on the way. Even though “the director left a lot of unanswered questions,” Karissa Dole (11) is optimistic and hopes “the last movie of the Star Wars trilogy answers these questions.”

Essentially, it all boils down to the expectations that the fans had. Since the movie had so much hype, all fans were expecting something that followed what they believed should happen in the movie. Fans had their hopes so high that it was near impossible for Disney to ever meet them. The feeling is similar to when a friend talks about how great that one place is for weeks, building up the excitement and anticipation. When finally going there, it’s never as incredible as they described. The same thing happened with The Last Jedi, except instead of a few weeks, fans had two whole years of expectancy building up. It is also most likely due to personal taste. Personally, I loved the movie and I have grown up watching the Star Wars movies. After going to see The Last Jedi, Karissa Dole agreed that it was a great movie which used 21st-century technology’s “awesome special effects” to bring the “action-packed… scenes” to life.

When looking at the Rotten Tomatoes’ critics score and audience score, the percentage was 55% for critics and 59% for the audience. But wait, that was not for The Last Jedi; it was for The Phantom Menace, the prequel trilogy that had been added to the original trilogy. The Last Jedi did do worse on the audience score in comparison with The Phantom Menace, but it beat the critics’ score by 40% more. Now, this added trilogy is loved by many Star Wars fans. This revelation only demonstrates that perhaps fans were trying to find flaws with The Last Jedi instead of really looking at the overall picture. It’s disappointing that fans could not appreciate the unpredictable plot twists that made up the story as thought-provoking surprises rather than automatic flaws. Hopefully, the following Episode will see better success and more open-minded responses.