Rian Johnson has hit back at criticism of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'.

The 44-year-old filmmaker's effort has divided opinions among fans, but Johnson has insisted it's important to move the franchise ''forward''.

Asked on Twitter whether it's good that the movie is so ''polarising'', he wrote on the micro-blogging website: ''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. (sic)''

'The Last Jedi' sees the return of 'Star Wars' legends Mark Hamill as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.

The new movie marks Fisher's last outing as the iconic character from the original trilogy after she passed away last December.

Although the actress had shot all the scenes for 'The Last Jedi' before her death, Johnson was unsure about whether to change the movie's plot following her passing, because she would no longer be able to be part of 'Episode IX'.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Johnson said: ''That was the very first conversation I had with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy after we came back, after New Year's. I kind of looked through the footage. That was the very first question.

''I felt really strongly that what we have here is so beautiful and the way that the character develops, the way it's paid off, and not only that, the horror of trying to manufacture something that - I don't even know what it would have been, but something for the end of this movie that leaves it in a place where the transition is easier, the idea of, 'Oh God, how would you fake something like that and how would it not be terrible?

''Given that we have a beautiful, complete performance from her that I think audiences deserve to see, and I think it will mean a lot for them, that ray of hope from Leia.''