Not so fast, Rian. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson deleted tweets recently, some 20,000 of them, in an apparent knee-jerk reaction to Disney’s cutting ties with Guardians of the Galaxy architect James Gunn. Unfortunately for Gunn, and for Johnson, what happens on the Internet generally tends to stays on the Internet.
Johnson downplayed the massive tweet-delete in a reply to Twitter user The Mary Sue, who called Johnson out for the social media purge:
— The Mary Sue (@TheMarySue) July 25, 2018
The director cited this as the reason Johnson deleted tweets:
No official directive at all, and I don’t think I’ve ever tweeted anything that bad. But it’s nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a “why not?” move.”
Given the current social medial climate, I honestly can’t say that I blame Johnson. Right-wing Twitter users specifically targeted Gunn, outspoken in his opposition to the Trump administration, by dredging up decades-old tweets which, according to ew.com, Gunn described as “totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative.” Despite Gunn’s apologies, Disney nevertheless opted to relieve Gunn from his Guardians of The Galaxy, Vol. 3 directorial duties.
Johnson, for his part, has carried his own Twitter bull’s-eye, albeit for different reasons than Gunn. While admittedly a box office blockbuster, Johnson’s The Last Jedi divided the Star Wars fan base, mostly due to Johnson’s writing and the manner in which he treated the Luke Skywalker character. The social media response to Johnson and the film has been nothing short of a tsunami, leading other directors to come to Johnson’s defense.
Still, the timing of the Johnson deleted tweets seems suspect. Whether or not his motives are pure as he says, and this purge is just the means by which he’s seeking to cut off the barrage from Internet naysayers and trolls, remains to be seen. With websites like the Wayback Machine, however, and others that archive old websites and, yes, old tweets, I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson hasn’t kicked up more of a social media cloud than he intended.
I don’t know. I think I tend to agree with K-2SO when it comes to Johnson’s reasoning behind the deleted tweets: “I find that answer vague and unconvincing.”