You know it’s true. Join me under the cut!
Rian Johnson is the writer/director of Star Wars: Episode 8-The Last Jedi. And that’s all he is. He isn’t the God of Star Wars (that’s George), he’s not the Supreme Dictator of Lucasfilm (that’s Kathleen Kennedy), he’s not the Editor of the Franchise (that’s the Lucasfilm Story Group), he didn’t originate the trilogy (that’s JJ Abrams) and he’s not anybody at Disney (that’s a whole ‘nother universe as far as Star Wars is concerned). In his own words:
“There’s a big part of the story yet to be written and not by me,” says Johnson, who will hand the trilogy back to The Force Awakens filmmaker J.J. Abrams for 2019’s Episode IX.
We had freedom coming into it. I was given the script for The Force Awakens and I was able to see the dailies they were filming and then it was just a matter of figuring out what happens next. Interview of Rian Johnson & Ram Bergman from Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi
That’s it, guys. And yet, Star Wars are treating him as though he were the Alpha and the Omega of the franchise.
But He Made Kylo Sympathetic, ruining JJ Abrams’ vision of the character!
No, that started with Abrams, Adam Driver (Kylo’s actor), Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt in The Force Awakens.
Adam Driver, in the special features of the blu-ray, outright states that Kylo doesn’t see himself as a villain. Abrams, in those same features, claims he was interested in exploring what makes a person become a villain. While I don’t have anything from Kasdan or Arndt, presumably they were on board with the idea.
And remember, Rian doesn’t get to finish off the series. JJ does. Anything JJ doesn’t like about Kylo’s characterization, he can change.
But He Said Kylo And Rey Were Two Halves Of The Same Protagonist Meaning…
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s a variation on the boiler-plate phrase ‘two halves of the same coin,’ a phrase applied to all Shadow Archetypes, Foils, and Rivals. Very common antagonists.
Rian Supports Reylo!
“no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love. In our story, that’s not a centerpiece.” What’s in Star Wars: The Last Jedi—and What’s Not
“You must have a thousand questions,” Poe.
“Where’s Rey?” Finn.
The ‘evidence’ that the Reylo’s present is thin, sketchy, and of dubious interpretation. It relies on things like Rey and Kylo being present on the same cover for EW (so are Luke and Leia) or that she said his name (in a very blunt criticism) or that a trailer shows Rey asking for help and Kylo extending his end, even though the two scenes are very clearly from totally different parts of the movie. Or they rely on Kylo’s creepy and rape-tastic torture of Rey, which says a lot if you ask me.
Here’s the thing. Rian’s denied any major romance. Kylo and Rey are confirmed to be fighting on opposite sides during the climax and final arc of the movie. And Rian doesn’t get to resolve their arcs. Because Rey and Kylo can’t resolve their arcs until IX, whatever Rian’s pushing for between them doesn’t matter. He gets to explore their characters, that’s it.
He Made Luke Sad and Mean!
Really? ‘Cause I remember Han saying Luke had disappeared out of a sense of guilt and failed responsibility after Kylo betrayed and murdered all of Luke’s fellow Jedi. Which, given that you would be logically depressed and a little grouchy after that kind of shit, would make Abrams responsible for making Luke sad and mean, no?
And Luke’s almost certainly going to get over it in this movie anyway, as he trains Rey and learns to accept her, so I wouldn’t count on Luke being ‘sad and mean’ for very long.
Rian’s Been Cutting Out Finn, Poe and Rose From The Marketing!
Okay, this one I can understand a little. Much of the marketing has been focused on Kylo, Luke, and Rey, and everybody else has been kind of short-changed.
But that’s not Rian’s fault; he’s not in control of marketing. Obviously, he has some input (he got to approve the covers for the new EW issue, for example), but it’s not nearly as much as most people give him credit for. Marketing’s a whole ‘nother department.
He’s Making Han And Leia Out To Be Terrible Parents Who Are Responsible For Kylo’s Actions!
Okay, this not only flies in the face of basic logic, it’s simply untrue. Adam Driver has been implying outright from the beginning that Kylo’s home life was less than stellar (predating Rian) and that Snoke took advantage of that.
Also, whatever flaws Han and Leia had as parents (and they were legion, I’m sure), Kylo’s ultimately responsible for his own actions. If the story starts trying to hold them accountable for what Kylo did, for what Snoke did, the movie’ll just break apart.
Will Leia have to confront her mistakes as a parent? Sure, that’s part of being a parent. Does that mean she’s responsible for Kylo’s actions in any way, shape, or form? No.
I think that’s all the direct examples of false power that the fans give Rian over this movie, at least that I can think of. There’s probably more.
Remember: Rian is the writer/director of one film, specifically the second film in the trilogy. As awesome and fun as the second act can be, it’s not very important in terms of setting characters on their path or resolving their issues. That power begins and ends with JJ Abrams.