'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Counter-Backlash Begins As #Thankyoujjabrams Trends

After suffering some of the worst reviews for a Star Wars movie since 1999's critically reviled Phantom Menace and enjoying a massive box office take that was nonetheless a step down from The Last Jedi, fans of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are making their argument in favor of the movie—building a social media counter to the prior backlash—using the trending hashtag #thankyoujjabrams.

After relatively positive reactions out of its Hollywood premiere, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was met with considerably more negative hot takes upon its December 20 wide release. The Washington Post said it "panders wildly," while Time said the film "comes off more like fanfiction than the creation of actual professional filmmakers." The Atlantic called The Rise of Skywalker "the most incoherent Star Wars movie ever made."

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) face off in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Lucasfilm/The Walt Disney Company

But many reviews were more middling, typified by the reaction from The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern, who called The Last Jedi "good, not great," describing the movie as evidence of incipient "Star Wars fatigue."

But the split between The Rise of Skywalker's 55 percent critics' consensus (a "rotten" score, by its metrics) and the "fresh" audience score at 86 percent suggests that, for many in the audience on its opening weekend, The Rise of Skywalker didn't disappoint. Many of those more enthusiastic voices have coalesced around the hashtag #thankyoujjabrams.

#thankyoujjabrams for creating my favorite characters of all time. I love the sequel trilogy so much because there truly is someone for everyone to relate to or see themselves in👏🏽 @jjabrams pic.twitter.com/Jx5OFHO8ph

— Wheels (@Wheels02) December 24, 2019

#thankyoujjabrams for Rey, Poe, and Finn pic.twitter.com/3ZODrNMutb

— Doomnometron (@Doomnometron) December 24, 2019

#thankyoujjabrams for putting up with a community that is impossible to please and consistently tears down what it claims to love pic.twitter.com/XOVt4zMMV0

— Sean (@shaggertee) December 24, 2019

Reactions using the hashtag vary from defenses of various aspects of the series, such as the main cast of characters, to more external concerns, such as those pushing back against perceived negativity in the fandom community.

Even the hashtag itself is a reaction to a reaction, of sorts, trending after #thankyourianjohnson became a rallying cry for those who preferred The Rise of Skywalker predecessor, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That movie, released in 2017, was critically beloved, but several of its storytelling choices quickly became hot button issues among the Star Wars fandom. A vocal contingent of fans objected, in particular, to the subversive depiction of Luke Skywalker as a fallen hero, whose spirits were crushed after the failure of his new Jedi temple.

#thankyourianjohnson for reminding me that distance is meaningless when we reach out to each other with compassion and understanding pic.twitter.com/p4VlPYHjMe

— Katie 😈 (@PoeHotDameron) December 24, 2019

“Heeded my words not, did you? Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” #thankyourianjohnson pic.twitter.com/hzTDXf6aDz

— David Cho (@dc224) December 24, 2019

#thankyourianjohnson for putting female characters of bravery, intelligence, and conviction at the forefront of your Star Wars chapter. pic.twitter.com/FJnqgwMfOU

— Ava Moss🦢 (@AVAcado95) December 24, 2019

In social media's typically combative atmosphere, hashtags have become dueling battle lines, with many using #thankyoujjabrams sarcastically, to highlight issues with the movie as well, like the significant diminishment of actor Kelly Marie Tran's character, Rose Tico, who had been the object of a sexist backlash upon her introduction in The Last Jedi.

#thankyoujjabrams for pandering to the racists and misogynists that bullied kmt offline instead of the women and poc fans who love her and rose! pic.twitter.com/7PswdkobXT

— ᴍᴀᴅᴇʟɪɴᴇ ʟᴏᴠᴇs ʙᴇɴ (@boobooben) December 24, 2019

When you see a bunch of man babies trying to get #thankyoujjabrams trending because they’re triggered by #thankyourianjohnson pic.twitter.com/eW7WD8TTqM

— Eric Krouss (@SourKrouss) December 24, 2019

While many using the two hashtags, named for directors J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens) and Rian Johnson (Knives Out), are using the trending topic as a chance to reprise the polarized responses to Johnson's The Last Jedi, the relatively muted (and sometimes fiercely negative) response to The Rise of Skywalker, even among fans, suggests a developing negative consensus. Still, many fans found plenty to love about the movie, with #thankyoujjabrams acting as a repository of feelings and reactions to the concluding entry of the nine-movie Star Wars "Skywalker Saga."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.