Writer-director Rian Johnson defended Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s version of Luke Skywalker from comparisons to his portrayal in The Rise of Skywalker during an interaction on Twitter. Johnson’s The Last Jedi was a critically-acclaimed box office success that nevertheless divided Star Wars fans with the ways it continued the story of The Force Awakens, particularly when it came to its portrayal of Luke as an older and disillusioned Jedi master. Debates over the film’s creative direction have raged on pretty much nonstop for the past two years, leading up to The Rise of Skywalker’s release this week.

Although The Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams was supportive of Johnson’s approach for a long time, even he and other big names associated with Star Wars have been more openly critical of The Last Jedi over the last few weeks. The Rise of Skywalker itself is full of dramatic twists and reveals that come off as a related attempt to course-correct and/or retcon The Last Jedi’s story. Of course, depending on how you feel about Johnson’s Star Wars film, this is either welcome or disappointing news.

With The Rise of Skywalker now playing in theaters, people are taken to Twitter to voice either their support or frustration with how Luke in The Rise of Skywalker differs from his Last Jedi portrayal. Johnson has also defended his Star Wars movie’s take on the character, as you can see from the exchange below.

To build on what Johnson tweeted: The Last Jedi grounds Luke emotionally by exploring how his guilt and trauma from his previous mistakes (namely, his failure to prevent his nephew, Ben Solo, from embracing the dark side of the Force) has affected him and led him to believe the Star Wars universe would be better off without not only him, but the Jedi Order altogether. His actions and motivations are equal parts relatable and valid; as he points out to Rey early on in the film, he’s come to recognize this isn’t the first time the ways of the Jedi have resulted in the corruption of a would-be hero and helped fuel the rise of a fascistic regime, either. But by the end of The Last Jedi (and with a little help from the Force ghost of his old master, Yoda), Luke realizes the value in passing on the lessons of his mistakes and uses the knowledge he’s gained from them to stop the First Order from wiping out the Resistance, allowing him to be at peace with the Force at last.

The flip side of this defense, though, is Luke’s behavior is an outright betrayal of the person he was during the original Star Wars trilogy. There are a lot of Star Wars fans who feel that way too (even Mark Hamill has long said he disagreed with Johnson’s interpretation of Luke in The Last Jedi), and many of them for justifiable reasons of their own. Whichever way one falls will determine whether you’re pleased with how The Rise of Skywalker changes its approach to Luke, or feel Abrams and his fellow creatives are guilty of playing things too safe and trying to placate certain fans rather than honoring what Johnson did. And if these last two years are any indicator, this debate is unlikely to die off anytime soon.

Source: Rian Johnson/Twitter