After many months of impatiently waiting for something, anything related to Star Wars 8, Disney and Lucasfilm finally threw us all a bone and revealed the official title for the next installment of the Star Wars saga; Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Now that the veil of secrecy has been pulled down just a tiny bit, a little more information about the movie, or at least about what went into making the movie, is being revealed. Director Rian Johnson recently discussed some of what influenced Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as some of the challenges of making it.
Following the title reveal, Rian Johnson did a little interview with Empire Magazine about the status of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He said when asked about the status of the movie that things are going "Great! We're in the thick of editing, really digging into it. It's taking shape and I'm very excited." He couldn't reveal much about the actual plot of the movie, but he did reveal what movies influenced him while making Star Wars: Episode VIII. Here is what he had to say.
"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."
A classic war movie, a classic samurai movie and a romantic thriller. That sounds like the foundation of every Star Wars movie made thus far. Putting those elements in a blender has always made quite a bit of sense when it comes to this particular franchise, and similar influences date back to the original 1977 movie. Rian Johnson not only directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but he also wrote the movie and that presented its own set of challenges, namely with some of the dialogue. Here is how he explained it.
"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 took over directing duties on the franchise from J.J. Abrams, who directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is said to pick up right where that movie left off, with Rey and Luke meeting for the first time. That was filmed on Skellig Michael island, which is a difficult place to shoot, because of its isolation. It turns out, that being the case, Rian Johnson actually filmed his scenes for Star Wars 8 there long before principal photography started.
"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."
While Rian Johnson couldn't say anything specific about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he did say something that tells us a bit about what to expect. When asked what surprised him most about making a Star Wars movie, he explained that the process was quite intimate, despite the size and scope of it. Here is what he had to say about making the movie.
"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."
He was talking about the process, but that seems to imply that The Last Jedi could be an intimate story in some ways, which is something to go on for now. At least until we get the first teaser, which is likely to drop during Star Wars Celebration in April. The cast for the movie includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'O and Mark Hamill. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and is set for release on December 15.