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Star Wars director Rian Johnson got death threats for Last Jedi

Writer-director Rian Johnson reports that some fans went to the very dark side of the Force when it came to their feelings about the movie.

Rakuten TV Empire Awards 2018
Rian Johnson, winner of the best director award, on stage during the Rakuten TV Empire Awards in London in March. 
John Phillips/Getty Images

Star Wars fans are a vocal group. They're quick to support beloved actors, but some will take to social media like an army of battle droids when their favorite characters aren't depicted the way they see fit on the big screen. 

When Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out in December, fans were quick to debate whether it was the most hated Star Wars film of the franchise. Some were so outraged by the storylines they demanded the movie be forever removed from Star Wars canon.

But others who truly despised The Last Jedi went so far as to threaten the filmmaker responsible -- director Rian Johnson.

"At first I was freaked out but then I realized the things people were angry about are the things I'm most proud about," Johnson told the Standard in a recent interview. "There were death threats."

Not every fan hated the film, of course. The Last Jedi is considered a blockbuster, making $1.31 billion at the global box office as of January

But the film also got mixed reviews from fans and critics, and had low initial audience scores

Johnson said he believed the few fans who really disliked the film just happen to be the loudest voices in the Star Wars community. 

"It's balanced by a few things -- 90 percent of the stuff I got online was not only lovely and encouraging but phenomenally thoughtful," Johnson said. "The other 10 percent is just loud and gets amplified."

As we reported in our CNET special report iHate, online abuse is getting worse. And it exacts a very real toll, on ordinary web-goers and celebrities alike. 

"You're not going to please everyone," Johnson said. "But then you still read someone saying they wish you were dead and it's going to ruin your day."

The Last Jedi arrived on Blu-ray, in digital stores and on demand via cable in March. 

iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.

Star Wars at 40: Join us in celebrating the many ways the Force-filled sci-fi saga has impacted our lives.