Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is certainly the talk of the town right now, with every scene and moment being dissected by fans and critics alike. The opinions on the movie may vary wildly, but one moment everyone can agree on involves Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo as she takes sole control of the main Resistance ship while the rest of the Resistance flees in escape pods. Holdo then makes the ultimate sacrifice, jumping to lightspeed directly into the First Order’s ship. The Last Jedi‘s editor, Bob Ducsay, spoke to Collider about the film and how that sequence came together.
A surprising reveal from Ducsay is that the initial Star Wars: The Last Jedi scene didn’t work well, with storyboards and then digital effects that became hard to understand:
“The thing to me that’s the most interesting is that the way that the actual impact works was storyboarded. And when you watched it with storyboards, it was very, very, hard to understand. And we got the first iterations of the digital effects back from ILM, and it really didn’t work. We sort of revamped how it was going to work, and when that happened, it suddenly went from, ‘I’m not sure how this is going to work,’ to ‘This is obviously fantastic.’ Then the whole rest of the way, bringing it into finished digital effects was very quick, and surprised—I mean, I’d say it’s easy for us. We’re not the ones executing the visual effects, but the design of the scene, we basically had a breakthrough at one point in post-production. This was not something that was all figured out in production or prep, and it just came together and turned into just incredible.”
A major part of why the scene is so striking is because of the use of sound, or lack thereof, as Holdo pilots her ship through the First Order’s, something the editor credits to writer-director Rian Johnson:
“The other thing too, the way the sound works is just fantastic, because it’s building. The John Williams score and the sound effects, they’re building to this full-throated crescendo, and then everything goes away, and it’s just the tiniest atmosphere. Sort of a low-end space sound, and you can just feel the audience because of that incredibly significant contrast in both sound and imagery. I mean it’s amazing. And by the way, it’s all Rian. He had that in his head, how that thing was going to work, and even though we made tweaks on it, this was always where he was headed. So, I’m glad you love that because I sure do too. It’s really something.”
The scene has elicited awes from theatergoers all over the world, which means Holdo’s sacrifice could go down as one of many iconic moments in the history of the franchise.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters. The movie’s cast includes Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Armitage Hux, Benicio Del Toro as “DJ”, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Jimmy Vee as R2-D2.