Batten down the hatches—we’re starting to feel another round of The Last Jedi discourse coming on. The movie celebrates its fifth anniversary in December, and it’s only right to mark the occasion with even more rigorous debate on its flaws and merits. Love it or hate it, it says something about the film that it’s still able to elicit such a strong reaction from fans.
Perhaps that’s why Rian Johnson will never disavow his contribution to the Star Wars universe: “I’m even more proud of it five years on. When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball,” he tells Empire magazine.
Boldly tempting fate (in the form of renewed attacks from online fandom), Johnson even offers some insight into his approach to the film: “I think it’s impossible for any of us to approach Star Wars without thinking about it as a myth that we were raised with, and how that myth, that story, baked itself into us and affected us,” he shares. “The ultimate intent was not to strip away—the intent was to get to the basic, fundamental power of myth. And ultimately I hope the film is an affirmation of the power of the myth of Star Wars in our lives.”
“The final images of the movie, to me, are not deconstructing the myth of Luke Skywalker, they’re building it, and they’re him embracing it,” Johnson continues. “They’re him absolutely defying the notion of, ‘Throw away the past,’ and embracing what actually matters about his myth and what’s going to inspire the next generation. So for me, the process of stripping away is always in the interest of getting to something essential that really matters.”
Johnson seemingly moved on from The Last Jedi brouhaha to enjoy success in a galaxy very, very nearby (the realm of the contemporary whodunit). Yet Star Wars fans should do well to heed his words, as he hasn’t totally parted ways with the franchise–though it’s been put on the backburner for Knives Out, he still potentially has his own Star Wars trilogy in the works, and Kathleen Kennedy says he’s part of “our little brain trust.” The biggest difference in the last five years is that his influence over the universe may be diluted by the constant influx of Star Wars content. You can decide for yourself whether that’s a good or a bad thing.