Since The Last Jedi, the best Star Wars movie, hit theatres in 2017, director Rian Johnson has endured some hefty harassment on social media. You’d think all the negative comments and constant targeted abuse would wear him down, but instead the science fiction movie filmmaker wasn’t really fazed.
In an interview with Cinema Blend, Johnson stated the whole process of being a target for constant trolling cured his tendency to seek the approval of others. “Before I made The Last Jedi, I had never had anyone hate me on the internet,” he said. “If during the course of a year I got one negative tweet I would go into a panic. I’d be like ‘Oh my god, someone out there doesn’t like me. I need to fix this!'”
According to Johnson, the toxicity around The Last Jedi allowed him to reflect on his self-worth being tied to online spaces, and sever that connection a little bit so it doesn’t bother him as much. By his own words, once he did that, it all became predictable, and kind of boring.
“It’s given me a more realistic view of the system that is social media. There’s a lot of great, genuine interaction that goes on,” he states. “The bad stuff, the systematic trolling, the almost gamified abuse that some people devote their entire online presence to; honestly, once you’ve seen enough of it, you see the pattern of it. It just sort of gets boring after a while.”
Whenever more tweets come in now – and they’re still regular – it’s water off a duck’s back. “It doesn’t even give me that little negative ping anymore. And I don’t think it’s even my skin growing tough, it’s just I’ve put it in perspective,” Johnson added. “I realise this is a by-product of this social Twitter system. There’s going to be some degree of people where this is their hobby, basically.”
Given the way some Star Wars fans took their dislike of The Last Jedi as an excuse to pile on Johnson and other members of the production, it’s nice to hear some positivity came from it. To this day, it’s still something that certain wings of the action movie‘s fandom base their online personality around, and unfortunately, there really isn’t much Johnson or anyone else can really say to change their mind.