Joseph Gordon-Levitt Pens 2000 Word Defense Of "The Last Jedi"

For many, the joys of Star Wars come from the comfort of familiarity, the mythology Lucas created. "The Last Jedi" erases all that. I knew "The Last Jedi" would likely rub purist fans the wrong way. The primary intent of the film was to reinvent the franchise. Of course, these purists want things to stay the same, but watching "The Last Jedi" you can sense director Rian Jonson trying to, as Kylo Ren says, "let the past die." It's a theme that resonates throughout the film.

"Star Wars" fans that were unsatisfied with "The Last Jedi," and there were many, have decided to start a petition to have "The Last Jedi" removed from the franchise's canon. [You can read more about the backlash HERE)

Its director Rian Johnson has responded to the fan backlash most notably a campaigned petition to oust the film as being officially part of the canon of the Star Wars universe.
"The goal is never to divide or make people upset, but I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if sw is going to grow, move forward and stay vital," Johnson tweeted.Many longtime fans of the franchise were left severely disappointed by writer/director Rian Johnson‘s movie, which declared that Rey’s parents don’t matter, nudged the lines of what it means to use the Force, and most crucially of all, killed off Luke Skywalker. Indeed, the Jedi master we meet in ‘The Last Jedi’ is far from the young hero of the original trilogy. Cynical and weary, he now believes the Jedi and the mythology around it are more of a threat than an asset to the Rebellion. And for those of us that like the film, that’s precisely what makes ‘The Last Jedi’ so enjoyable.4
Now Joseph Gordon-Levitt has decided to chime in as well, writing a 2000 word essay for Medium. Of course, Levitt has a professional relationship with "Jedi" helmer Johnson (“Brick” and “Looper,” and  “The Brothers Bloom”) but his essay is well-written and tries to make the case for Luke Skywalker's drastic change in the film:
Leaving Luke unchanged would have been a huge missed opportunity. Think about how rare this is. A trilogy of movies is made with a young protagonist played by an actor in his 20s. Then, no fewer than 40 YEARS LATER (A New Hope came out in 1977) this actor gets to play the same character as an older man. I don’t know how many times that has ever happened in the history of movies. Has it ever happened?
This gives the filmmaker and the actor an extraordinary opportunity to tell a story about one of the most universal truths in human experience — getting older. We all get older, and those of us who are lucky enough to survive our youth all face the joys, the terrors, the puzzles, the pitfalls, the surprises, and the inevitabilities that come along with doing so. Re-meeting our beloved protagonist decades after we last saw him, only to learn that the passing years have changed some of his most fundamental qualities, I’ll admit, it’s almost hard to see. But in that glaring contrast between the Luke of old and the new Old Luke, The Last Jedi offers a uniquely fascinating portrayal of a man’s life marching inescapably forward.
Time changes us. Go talk to anybody in their sixties and ask if they feel very different than they did in their twenties. The look on their face will almost surely speak volumes. As do so many such looks from Mark Hamill in what I feel is a beautifully nuanced and heartfelt performance….
….To me, this is a story about not losing faith: faith in the outside world, faith in your allies as well as your enemies, in the future as well as the past, in the next generation that will take your place, and yes, faith in your own damn self. Luke has made mistakes that had terrible consequences, and his regret is so strong that he wants to give up. We need to see that despair, hidden under a crusty front of indifference, so that when he finally decides to put himself out there and make the ultimate sacrifice, it means something. It means more than just stalling the First Order to let the remainder of the Resistance escape. Our protagonist has arrived at the end of his journey. He’s re-found his faith, both in the past and the future of the Jedi Order, and even more importantly, in himself. Again, it’s in that glaring contrast between a journey’s beginnings and its end where we find a story’s meaning.