With the recent title announcement for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, fan anticipation for the next chapter of the beloved saga is at an all-time high. In an interview with Empire, director Rian Johnson offered fans an update on the film’s progress, revealed some of the previous works that will influence his take on the film and discussed what he considered to be the most difficult challenge when writing the script.
Rian Johnson gave an update on the current state of the film’s development.
“Great! We’re in the thick of editing, really digging into it. It’s taking shape and I’m very excited.”
The director also revealed which films will influence his direction for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
“Twelve O’Clock High was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots. Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun. And To Catch A Thief was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur.”
Johnson then described the experience on the first day of shooting.
“Our first day of shooting was actually several months before principal photography began: we had three days on Skellig Michael island. So not only was it day one of Star Wars on this incredible natural location, but because the island was so inaccessible it was a very stripped-down, run-and-gun crew. Pretty much the perfect start to the whole adventure.”
Dialogue was the hardest aspect of writing the script according to Rian Johnson.
“I found myself constantly wanting to push modern idioms into the dialogue, and sometimes that can work, but you have to be very careful. If you go too far you can break that Star Wars spell. The other challenge is the tech talk, which has to be simultaneously complex enough to sound real and conceptually simple enough to follow. The original films were brilliant at that.”
Rian Johnson discussed his recent cameo appearance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
“It was so much fun. I was jealous of my producer Ram [Bergman] — he got to wear the full Daft Punk helmet. Also it was great because we knew we couldn’t get cut out of the movie! The ONE THING they absolutely have to do is fire the Death Star!”
Lastly, Johnson compared the experience of working on Star Wars to working on smaller films, noting some similarities.
“I guess the biggest surprise was the intimacy of the process. It’s huge, sure, and it’s filled with pressures great and small. But at the end of the day, it boils down to the same things as the smaller films we’ve made: telling a story we care about with a camera and some actors. And a Wookiee.”
How do you feel about the film influences Rian Johnson will employ for Episode VIII? Share your thoughts below!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released in theaters on December 15, 2017.