‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ director Rian Johnson says fan service is “a mistake”

The 'Last Jedi' director warns filmmakers against indulgent storytelling

The day before the final Star Wars film of the current trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker, reaches UK cinemas, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has spoken out about his relationship with fans of the franchise, calling any excessive pandering “a mistake”.

In an interview on the Swing & Mrs Podcast on Radio.com, Johnson, who helmed the second chapter of the trilogy, explained why he prefers to challenge audiences rather than spoon-feeding them.

“I think approaching any creative process with that would be a mistake that would lead to probably the exact opposite result,” Johnson said.


Fresh from a more left-field success as the writer-director of contemporary whodunit Knives Out, Johnson is rejoining the conversation about the galaxy he played a considerable part in.

He continued to explain the problems with fan service: “Even my experience as a fan, you know if I’m coming into something, even if it’s something that I think I want, if I see exactly what I think I want on the screen, it’s like ‘oh, okay,’ it might make me smile and make me feel neutral about the thing and I won’t really think about it afterwards, but that’s not really going to satisfy me.”

At the time of release, the NME review called The Last Jedi a “thrilling instalment”. While the debate around the strength of each new chapter still grows louder, Johnson makes his stance crystal-clear.

“I want to be shocked, I want to be surprised, I want to be thrown off-guard, I want to have things recontextualised, I want to be challenged as a fan when I sit down in the theatre.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released in UK cinemas on 19 December 2019.