'The Last Jedi': An Explanation for Some Fans' Disappointment and Ire

When wild theories don't pan out, excitement can quickly turn to disgust.
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'.

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi]

Some Star Wars fans are mad, furious even. 

Since The Last Jedi opened Thursday night, a portion of moviegoers made it clear via social media and through audience scores that there is a deep divide over the Disney film, which stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver.

While the Rian Johnson film was overwhelmingly praised by critics, holding a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it has only a 56 percent audience score on the movie aggregator — putting it in the territory of George Lucas' controversial prequel films.

So, what makes this film so polarizing? Points of disgust seem to run the gamut, but perhaps the underlying factor can be traced back to expectations borne out of wild theories stoked by fan sites and YouTube channels.

After being purchased by Disney, Lucasfilm in 2014 clarified that previous tie-in novels and comics that made up the Expanded Universe were not considered canon. As fans no longer could look to that material for clues as to what would happen in The Last Jedi, they turned to dissecting previous films and new trailers like they were the Zapruder film the moment they posted. 

And some theories — about Rey's parents or the origins of Snoke — became so ingrained in fan consciousness that when they didn't play out, many fans seem to feel like they were cheated out of something.

To try and untangle this web of fan ire spoilers need to be addressed, so be warned. And, full disclosure: Heat Vision certainly plays a role in that some theories are put forth based off trailers. And there's nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with any site, outlet or YouTube channel putting out theories. It is just a shame some of those theories become so beloved that when they don't pan out, they can ruin the film for a portion of fans. 

A prime example of wild expectations not met is a fan-made video on YouTube titled "Film Theory: Rey's Parents SOLVED!" It was posted a month before Last Jedi opened. It currently has almost 3 million views.

The fan video, more than 12 minutes long, deconstructs dialogue, looks between characters and even the seating arrangement for the table read of The Force Awakens. The end result is the theory that Rey has to be Han and Leia's daughter.

Then there is another fan video that points to all the reasons why Rey has to be Obi-Wan Kenobi's daughter. That video, posted in January, has more than 2.4 million views. 

And fans who loved those theories and found the reasons for their favorite to be correct were likely devastated when it was revealed Rey's parents were nothing more than just a couple of deceased drunken junkers who sold her off for booze money. Meanwhile, other viewers who didn't fall down the theory rabbit hole were likely surprised by the reveal, and not necessarily let down by it.

Another controversial plot development among fans is Snoke's early exit from the franchise. The character's demise did not build in a grandiose fashion akin to that of Emperor Palpatine in the original trilogy. Not only that, there is also the fact that not much is revealed about the character, played by Andy Serkis, before he is unexpectedly cut in half by Kylo Ren. 

So, the more than 6.4 million people who watched the YouTube fan video "Snoke is Mace Windu - Star Wars Theory," were likely irate some huge twist about this Sith lord was not put forth. 

Fans expect shocking secrets in these films, but because some simply cannot wait to just go and enjoy the experience of the film when it opens, they try to out-guess plot and twists from the onset. 

More than 2 million people watched The Last Jedi trailer breakdown posted by the YouTube channel New Rockstars in April.

The channel — which breaks down a lot of nerd fodder, including The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and other superhero films — warns every time that there may be spoilers because they make guesses as to what will happen in the film based off the trailer and previous films. 

If they guess right, any surprise is ruined. It they are wrong, and their guess was well received by the viewer, there is disappointment when the film doesn't deliver. Seems like a no-win situation, which would likely result in a disappointing moviegoing experience.