'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Director Is 'Even More Proud' Of Film 5 Years Later

“When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball," Rian Johnson told Empire magazine.
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Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
Disney / Lucasfilm via YouTube

Despite what the most unhinged fan with a blank Twitter profile might say, director Rian Johnson stands by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” as an essential entry in the galaxy-spanning franchise.

While certain parts of the fandom, including those who made racist and misogynistic comments about the cast, may have taken issue with the characterization of Jedi master Luke Skywalker and other ways that the film deconstructed existing canon, Johnson said he is “even more proud” of the film five years after its release.

“When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball,” he told Empire magazine in an interview published Tuesday ahead of the blockbuster sequel’s five-year anniversary in December.

“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,” Johnson said. “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.”

As for the movie’s conclusion, which saw Skywalker perish after using every ounce of his energy to save the galaxy once again, Johnson said those final moments were not about “deconstructing the myth” of the beloved Jedi but “building” it.

“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,” the director said. “So for me, the process of stripping away is always in the interest of getting to something essential that really matters.”

After both the critical and commercial success of “The Last Jedi,” Johnson was slated to helm his own “Star Wars” trilogy, which has since been indefinitely delayed.

Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy previously cited the filmmaker’s “unbelievably busy” schedule as the reason behind the decision, telling Vanity Fair earlier this year that the studio is “much more about persistent storytelling” than trilogies these days.

Johnson, who is currently at work on two sequels to his 2019 film “Knives Out,” echoed Kennedy’s sentiments in his comments to Empire, while also reaffirming his commitment to the franchise.

“It’s just at this point a matter of schedule and when it can happen,” he told the magazine, sharing that he’s “stayed close” with Kennedy over the years. “It would break my heart if I were finished, if I couldn’t get back in that sandbox at some point.”

Johnson’s next film, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” arrives on Netflix in December.