For reasons too annoying to delve into here, some so-called Star Wars fans weren’t all that pleased with the direction Rian Johnson took with December's The Last Jedi. Specifically, some balked at the arc of a bearded Luke Skywalker. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who worked with Johnson in Looper and Brick, thankfully isn't one of those fans.
In a Medium-published essay Tuesday, Gordon-Levitt defended the director’s creative choices and revealed he was actually surprised by the "passionate contingent" who didn't enjoy the film's Skywalker developments. "It makes sense that all of this might not feel very good," he wrote of Skywalker's Last Jedi vibes. "For so many of us, Luke is the epitome of a hero. He is what we strive to be. He's also our access point into a world we love. We got to know Star Wars through the eyes of this character. And now, after all this time, we finally get to see him again, and he sorta sucks as a person." Those creative gambles, Gordon-Levitt argued, ultimately paid off by giving fans a story about getting older.
"Time changes us," he said, noting the "big risks" Johnson took with Skywalker's return. "Go talk to anybody in their sixties and ask if they feel very different than they did in their twenties. The look on their face will almost surely speak volumes. As do so many such looks from Mark Hamill in what I feel is a beautifully nuanced and heartfelt performance." Agreed.
Whether you were down with Johnson's take on Skywalker or not, Gordon-Levitt's extensive essay is worth a read.
Fellow Skywalker scholar Kevin Smith weighed in on this debate earlier this month. Though Smith didn't stand firmly on either side, he did offer up some complementary thoughts on how fans' preconceived notions contributed to the response. "Some people, it hit them the wrong way in a big way," Smith said on a recent episode of his Fatman on Batman podcast. "I've seen, it's not just people going like, 'Oh, I didn't like it' when they don't like it. It's vitriolic, as if somebody fucked up their childhood."