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Rian Johnson’s ‘Last Jedi’ Among the Biggest STAR WARS Controversies – But Is It The Biggest?

The fact that Star Wars: The Last Jedi was controversial is, well, uncontroverted. As divisive as the film was, and continues to be, it’s only one of multiple, discordant issues to affect the Star Wars franchise.  The Star Wars saga is one that spans four decades, after all. There was always bound to be things about the story over these past forty years about which not all fans would agree. So what have been some of the biggest Star Wars controversies over the years?

Biggest Star Wars Controversies: The Empire Strikes Back

Biggest Star Wars Controversies
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

It’s strange to think of The Empire Strikes Back as controversial. Now, most fans and critics alike regard the film as the best of the entire franchise. When it premiered in 1980, however, it caused quite the stir. It’s much darker tone, lack of a happy ending, and cliffhanger conclusion left many scratching their heads. Of course all would be resolved three years later with Return of the Jedi. In 1980, though, ESB created the first of the biggest Star War controversies.

Next: Ewoks

Ewoks; Biggest Star Wars Controverises
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In the wake of the reaction to Empire, George Lucas perhaps went a little too far in the opposite direction with Return of the Jedi. Many complained that the addition of Ewoks into Star Wars canon was little more than pandering to a younger audience. (This is an issue that arise again in the prequels.) Likewise, people viewed the Ewoks as mostly a marketing money grab. Who wouldn’t want a fuzzy, stuffed Ewok toy?

Biggest Star Wars Controversies: The Special Editions

Biggest Star Wars Controversies
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

George Lucas again single-handedly created one of the biggest Star Wars controversies with the ”Special Editions” of the original trilogy. As technology advanced, Lucas felt the need to enhance the original Star Wars films in ways he couldn’t when he first produced them. The problem was that he did so in an overhanded way, giving the previously adored films an almost cartoonish feel at times. The worst offense: the RotJ dance number no one asked for.

The Prequels: Too Much CGI

Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

What started with the Special Editions culminated with the prequels. Lucas’s insistence on the extensive use of CGI truly did give the prequels a cartoonish feel. Remember, not a single, live actor portrayed a clone trooper; they were all computer generated. In many instances it was painfully obvious that Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and the others were playing to green screen. For original trilogy purists, the CGI detracted from the story.

(List continued on next page.)

By JJ Goodman

Lawyer by trade, writer by passion. Author of 'The Deep Space Chronicles' series available at, a rambling blog at, and musings on all things 'Star Wars' here at That Hashtag Show.

6 replies on “Rian Johnson’s ‘Last Jedi’ Among the Biggest STAR WARS Controversies – But Is It The Biggest?”

Not to the extent that you think RJ. In fact, there are multitudes upon multitudes of critics praising ESB as well as fans writing about how much they love ESB. Maybe you should do your research. The whole ESB argument is a weak justification to prop up TLJ.

ESB was hated by alot of critics when it was released.
Also, to the author, please backup your claim of poor writing in TLJ. That’s quite a claim to make with no examples.

Running out of gas, pointless sub plots, Leia Poppins, turning everything into a joke even in the most serious situations…..poor writing

TLJ was plagued with bad writing, Mauler did a very extensive video describing just how bad it was. TLJ is a movie that only made it to the big screen because the director is a friend of KK, had it been presented in a college writing class, the teach would have thrown it out for breaking basic rules of writing.

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