“Their problem isn’t Star Wars, their problem is being threatened,” Abrams told IndieWire when asked about those who blasted the franchise for its focus on female characters.
While The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, was praised by critics, a certain subsection of audiences have been vocal with their criticisms of Episode VIII. In addition to Daisy Ridley’s return as Rey, the sequel featured Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo, and Carrie Fisher’s posthumous appearance as Princess Leia.
The audience score on Rotten Tomatoes dipped to 48 percent, which may have been the work of an alt-right group. One user called it “politically correct to the point of boredom,” while another said “feminism and diversity” have “ruined Star Wars for me as well as my kids.”
The hate got so loud that Johnson felt obliged to explain some of the choices for the film. For what it’s worth, the powers behind Lucasfilm thought he did such a great job that they gave him the reins of a brand-new Star Wars trilogy.
“Star Wars is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in Star Wars. If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in Star Wars,” Abrams, who helmed The Force Awakens, said. “You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.”
The director said the Last Jedi backlash didn’t affect his vision for Episode IX “in the least.”
He added, “I will say that the story of Rey and Poe and Finn and Kylo Ren — and if you look, there are three men and one woman, to those that are complaining that there are too many women in Star Wars — their story continues in a way that I couldn’t be more excited about and cannot wait for people to see.”
The untitled Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 20, 2019. But first, Lucasfilm will release Solo: A Star Wars Story this May 25.