With The Last Jedi arriving on Digital HD in a few weeks, and on Blu-ray and DVD a few weeks later, fans will be able to pore over the movie again and again, finding as many Easter Eggs as possible. It seems one may have been uncovered ahead of the home video release. IGN reporter Scott Collura tracked down a rare copy of the 1980 book Once upon a galaxy: A journal of the making of Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back by Alan Arnold, which features an interview with Empire Strikes Back director Irving Kirshner. His quote about the difference between the Empire and the Rebels is almost exactly recreated for a line by Kelly Marie Tran's Rose at the end of The Last Jedi. Here's the excerpt from Irving Kirshner's interview below.
"They will not sacrifice lives. They do not descend to the level of the enemy. That's the difference between the Rebels and the Empire. It's possible to fight because you love, not just because you hate."
The last line in that excerpt from the director's interview is strikingly similar to a line of dialogue which Rose says to Finn (John Boyega) towards the end of The Last Jedi, "We're going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love." Scott Collura posted an image from the obscure book on Twitter, tagging director Rian Johnson in his tweet. While the director wouldn't confirm that this line was inspired by this interview from the book, he did reveal that he was given a copy of the book during production of The Last Jedi. Here's what the director had to say about the book in two separate tweets.
"A friend gave me that book when we were in production, it's amaaaaazing. Really worth tracking down, feels like a sort of fluke that couldn't exist today, a strangely plain & intimate view of the production with lots of very unguarded interviews."
What's interesting is that, long before the movie hit theaters in December, there were no shortage of rumors about how The Force Awakens "mirrors" certain aspects of The Empire Strikes Back, including Rey's (Daisy Ridley) Jedi training with Luke (Mark Hamill) and much more. While the events and tone of The Last Jedi were ultimately far different than The Empire Strikes Back, director Rian Johnson admitted that there were some narrative influences, during an interview on the Bullseye with Jesse Thorn podcast.
"The Force Awakens was the first chapter in our trilogy, Empire Strikes Back was the second chapter. We're the second chapter in this trilogy. And if you look at where Empire Strikes Back took that very simple hero vs. bad guys dynamic, and I guess this is kind of easy to lose the shock of this over the years, the 'I am your father' moment has become so ubiquitous and ingrained in culture. If you really think about, in the context of everything you just described about that first Star Wars movie, what that does is suddenly it takes...Luke has just been able to project his shadow, and us as the audience by extension, project his shadow onto this literally faceless bad guy that's the personification of evil, so it's black and white, good and bad. Awesome. Empire Strikes Back hit 'I am your father,' all of that. Suddenly, the waters get muddy. Suddenly, that is completely subverted. And the bad guy you thought you could just kill is actually a part of you. And...you now have to start thinking in terms of a much more complicated arc of redemption. And his reaction to that, that's one of my favorite moments in all the movies, is Mark's [Hamill] performance when he screams that 'No!' in reaction to that. That's what I felt like we had to do in this one."
While writer-director Rian Johnson certainly had the script for The Last Jedi done before production started, and presumably before he was given a copy of the Once Upon a Galaxy book, it's possible that he could have rewritten that particular line during production, after coming across that part in the book. Regardless of its origins, Rose's line is still among the most memorable in the entire movie. Take a look at this series of tweets from Scott Collura Twitter along with tweets from Rian Johnson and one from Mark Hamill.
Remember what Rose said in @rianjohnson’s The Last Jedi about winning the war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love? Here’s director Irvin Kershner while filming Empire Strikes Back... pic.twitter.com/INTFj3JI4z— Scott Collura (@ScottCollura) February 28, 2018
A friend gave me that book when we were in production, it’s amaaaaazing— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) February 28, 2018
This is the book for those asking. Out of print but my awesome library was able to track down a copy. pic.twitter.com/DKSeKXsD8c— Scott Collura (@ScottCollura) February 28, 2018
Really worth tracking down - feels like a sort of fluke that couldn’t exist today, a strangely plain & intimate view of the production with lots of very unguarded interviews. https://t.co/lSLp17ZZ5S— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) February 28, 2018
Did they include the quote where I predicted it would ruin people's childhoods? 🙄 https://t.co/5e7yFNJ4sX— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) February 28, 2018