Star Wars: The Last Jedi took a number of cues from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi while telling an original story, but one influence that has slipped past the notice of a number of viewers goes back to the Prequel Trilogy. Specifically, Kylo Ren’s last scene in the movie is shot in a way similar to a few scenes in Revenge of the Sith, which showed his grandfather Anakin Skywalker’s descent into evil.
Talking with Collider after an IMAX screening of the film, director Rian Johnson explained that Kylo Ren’s sad look toward Rey at the very end of The Last Jedi was meant to invoke a similar shot near the end of Revenge of the Sith, where Anakin, now Darth Vader, looking into the lenses of his mask as his fate is sealed:
“I think that’s such a beautiful notion of ‘what does he regret in that moment,’ it’s the same way I think about in Revenge of the Sith, that mask is coming down, that beautiful shot of Anakin’s eyes right before it goes over and you see that glimpse of… Is it fear? Is it regret? What is it? What is going through his mind at that moment? That’s that kind of moment for Ben and I don’t want to put that moment in your guys’ head. I feel like that’s a moment that everyone should read into themselves.”
There are a handful of other shots that are reminiscent of Revenge of the Sith, including Kylo Ren pleading for Rey to join him resembling Anakin offering his wife Padmé a place at his side after he overthrows the newly-anointed Emperor, Kylo Ren’s march into the Resistance base looking a lot like Anakin’s march into the Jedi temple, and the shot that Johnson described resembling the shot of a defeated Anakin looking up at Obi-Wan with sadness and hatred. Furthermore, the closing lightsaber duel in The Force Awakens seems to be stylistically patterned after Obi-Wan and Anakin’s big fight on Mustafar. Generally-speaking, Revenge of the Sith is the best-regarded of the prequels by fans and casual audiences alike, so it makes sense that there’s so much influence present in this new trilogy.
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.