As director J.J. Abrams prepares to get back in the saddle to direct the as-yet-untitled Episode IX of “Star Wars”, he addressed the backlash that erupted over the previous instalment when some fans griped about the female-centric storylines that dominated “The Last Jedi”.
Speaking with IndieWire, Abrams offers a blunt assessment of fans who took issue with the Rian Johnson-directed followup to “The Force Awakens”.
“Their problem isn’t ‘Star Wars,’” declares Abrams, “their problem is being threatened.”
Adds Abrams: “’Star Wars’ is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in ‘Star Wars. If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in ‘Star Wars.’ You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did [‘Star Wars: A New Hope’] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.”
In fact, Abrams sees the debate boiled down to fairness vs. oppression. “We’re not asking to take away the male point of view or male artistry or male contribution,” he says. “We’re simply saying, ‘What is fair?’ I can see why people might get freaked out by it, but the people who are getting freaked out are the people who are accustomed to that privilege, and this is not oppression, this is about fairness.”
Would he ever let fan outcry shape his vision for the “Star Wars” franchise? “Not in the least,” he states.
“I think everyone is going to have their point of view,” he adds. “Certainly something I discovered early on in the ‘Star Wars’ world, is that you’re going to have an incredibly passionate and vocal fanbase, and they’re all going to have a lot of specific opinions.”