Let’s face it, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is controversial. The level of controversy surrounding this movie most likely came as a surprise to director Rian Johnson and the good people at Lucasfilm. While the amount of negativity that has manifest itself from this movie might have been surprising, it also might not be entirely bad.
Controversy is Inevitable
Star Wars has always been controversial. Think back to the first time you saw the original. What did you think of some of the acting? What did you think of a certain vulnerability that just happened to be built into a certain massive space station that isn’t a moon (that wouldn’t be explained until decades later)? Then move on to the next movie and a certain controversial revelation that just can’t be true. For some, it was the greatest moment in moviedom. For others, it was a ridiculous decision that was ruining Star Wars. Any of this sound familiar? We could continue through all the ensuing movies but instead, I’ll just give you a list of things to think about: Ewoks, Podracing, Sand, younglings, CGI Yoda, and Jar-Jar Binks. Need I go on? Because if you wanted I could get into Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All this to say, Star Wars has always had controversy one way or another. Clearly, this hasn’t been hurting the franchise over the last few decades. In fact, it probably helped it. There is always a controversy tipping point. Up to a certain point, controversy just adds to the buzz. Surpass that point and things get dicey. However, it doesn’t appear that the franchise has ever reached the level of controversy where it has hurt its popularity or bottom line. Instead, it has just helped hype it up that much more (just as it is doing now).
Controversy Equals Creativity
Through the course of history, many creative things have come with the cost of controversy. As creativity leads to changes in art, music, technology, and culture, people have differing opinions on this. The dialogue not only frames what is being looked at in the present but also shapes where creativity goes in the future. I have always said that a world without change is asleep. The same could be said about creativity, and controversy really. Both of these help move things forward and hopefully make them better!
Controversy Adds Depth
Controversy generally forces the two sides to really think about what they are discussing, or arguing, about. The more that people go back and forth about a topic, the more they are forced to really evaluate their stance. As they evaluate it more and more, they hopefully dig deeper and come up with new ideas as this happens. Of course, there is a level of open-mindedness that makes this even more interesting. However, building a case and evaluating that case inevitably leads to deeper thoughts and deeper conversations. Within the realm of Star Wars, there is a lot to dig into and talk about. There are now eight movies, TV shows, books, comic books, and video games that are all canon to pull from during discussions! This is where the real fun in Star Wars talks come from. The moment there is no divergence of opinion for Star Wars is probably the moment people lose interest in it.
Controversy is a Good Thing
There is a lot of controversy surrounding Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As I’m watching the opinions go back and forth I can’t help but smile. Isn’t it amazing that we live in a day and age where people can share differing opinions without being shunned for talking about something geeky like Star Wars? Yes, some people are getting a little too into their opinions on things. However, the fact that this is happening in forums like NPR and news outlets and not just focused blogs is a very good thing for those of us who consider themselves geeks. It’s also a good thing for the Star Wars universe. It is going to lead to two years of discussion as we eagerly await the next film in the Skywalker Saga. As little bits of information come out from sources the discussion and the controversy will continue. And in all honesty, it will probably get more interesting as it moves further along and people dig deeper. The controversy surrounding this movie will lead to more questions about Star Wars, the Force, and the characters that inhabit this galaxy far, far away. I, for one, am very excited to see where this all goes! How about you?