This post includes major spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker.
Few films are anticipated as highly as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—the third and final installment of the franchise’s sequel trilogy—which means that the bar is also set incredibly high. Sadly, while a minority of fiercely loyal and outspoken fans loved the conclusion, the general consensus with J.J. Abrams’ vision seemed to be, well, a big ol’ fart noise?
Where do we even begin? Emperor Palpatine is back, for inexplicable reasons. And Rey is his granddaughter? Poe was given an unfortunate backstory as basically a drug runner, and Disney allegedly squashed the possibility of a same-sex romance. And the exposition. So … much … exposition.
A large part of the problem was due to the game of directorial hot potato that went into the trilogy. Abrams directed the first installment, The Force Awakens, in 2015, then it was handed over to director Rian Johnson, who directed 2017’s The Last Jedi. Then, Abrams took back the wheel for Rise of Skywalker and seemingly ignored everything that Johnson had put into it and did his own thing. The result was a clunky landing with mixed themes and messaging.
And that fact was not lost on people! Over the opening weekend, people began airing their grievances on Twitter—particularly when it came to Abrams’ second crack at the trilogy. User @goodjobliz perhaps put it best in the following tweet by comparing Johnson’s plucky underdog story to, oh no, she’s just Palpatine’s heir.
“Johnson: Maybe anyone can be a hero :),” she wrote. “JJ Abrams: NO. NO. ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT.”
Rian Johnson: Maybe anyone can be a hero :)— Hannah Woodhead (@goodjobliz) December 22, 2019
JJ Abrams: NO. NO. ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT
Others had similar gripes about the Abrams-Johnson disconnect and joked and meme’d about it accordingly.
JJ Abrams in his interviews since TRoS came out pic.twitter.com/6ZPnsTm6Y6— Call Me Buttercup (@MrSailorScout) December 21, 2019
I'm watching star wars and it's like a bad improv show and rian Johnson is like "ok here we are at the supermarket" and JJ Abrams is like "no we're not"— Naomi Higgins (@nomstrositi) December 21, 2019
Bob Iger, Kathy Kennedy and JJ Abrams trying to place the blame on who’s responsible for making TROS like that: pic.twitter.com/NscbYaKX7F— Ella✨TROS spoilers (@filmflairs) December 22, 2019
harrison ford hearing his phone ring and seeing jj abrams’ name show up on the screen pic.twitter.com/48z4FM7dMY— rey (@dicksgraysn) December 21, 2019
Rian Johnson has shown more class to his most aggressive of haters than JJ Abrams to the mildest of criticism for the trashfire he calls a movie— Lue (@iam_thesenate) December 21, 2019
keri russell can do more with a smoky eye than jj abrams can do with 300 million dollars— Tara Abell (@tara_abell) December 22, 2019
Rian Johnson: What if I cast the first Asian-American woman in a lead role for a Star Wars film?— Jason (@jasonthinks) December 22, 2019
JJ Abrams: LOL what if I just cast more of my famous white friends?
jj abrams watching oscar isaac and john boyega film the finn and poe ending they wanted, knowing full well he whispered "cut" ten minutes earlier pic.twitter.com/3qQ9Sp1b3l— matt (@RealMattGannon) December 22, 2019
“I’m Rey.”— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) December 22, 2019
*Rey looks around for a moment, then smiles*
“Rey Star Wars.”
DIRECTED BY JJ ABRAMS
What better use of the “Pee is Stored in the Balls” meme?
Rian Johnson: the force is all around us, it doesn’t belong to any single person or ideology. the force is a part of everyone and a powerful force user can come from anywhere— Keifer? I Hardly Know Her (@DannyVegito) December 21, 2019
JJ Abrams: the force is stored in the balls
I see y’all are also mad— Keifer? I Hardly Know Her (@DannyVegito) December 23, 2019
And of course, the I Think You Should Leave focus group guy:
us to jj abrams pic.twitter.com/LW8r4JW2mu— Alison Herman (@aherman2006) December 22, 2019
But perhaps the harshest criticism award goes to the Pixelated Boat account:
Let’s be honest: JJ Abrams is a worse director than Michael Bay— pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat) December 23, 2019
Maybe J.J. Abrams would have better luck taking over the Transformers franchise?