Director Rian Johnson, known for his cult classics Looper, The Brothers Bloom, and Brick, is a geek's geek. And nearly anyone who knows his work is ecstatic that he will be taking on Star Wars: Episode VIII and most likely the final chapter in this trilogy Star Wars: Episode IX. One of those fans who can't wait to see Rian Johnson's own interpretation of George Lucas' universe is iconic and legendary filmmaker in his own right Terry Gilliam. Recently, the two had a conversation about entering that galaxy far, far away, where Johnson opened up about the experience, explaining the emotion that is going into the project.
Terry Gilliam, a man who often has a hard time finding financing for his own projects, is about to release The Zero Theorem, in theaters this Friday. He appeared on the Talk House podcast, where he was joined by Rian Johnson. Mid-conversation, Terry Gilliam learns that Rian Johnson is taking on the huge responsibility of resurrecting the Star Wars universe after J.J. Abrams gets done with it.
Terry Gilliam asks Rian Johnson what it feels like to play in someone else's universe. This is the Star Wars: Episode VIII director's response.
Well, I'm just starting into it. Honestly, it's the most fun I've ever had writing. It's just joyous. But also for me personally, I grew up, not just watching those movies but playing with those toys, so as a little kid the first movies I was making in my head were set in that world. So a big part of it is that sort of direct connection, its almost like an automatic jacking-in into childhood in a weird way I guess.... but I don't know, ask me again in a few years, we'll talk about it."
"He sold it to Disney, so he's kind of stepped back and Kathleen Kennedy is running LucasFilm...Again, I'm figuring it out as I go. I'm dancing on top of the avalanche a little bit. So I'll have more perspective in a while but it's a balance of remembering what inspires you about it [the original films], but you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it. You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about."
Terry Gilliam is most interested by the responsibility in taking over such a huge franchise. Rian Johnson responds to that idea by saying:
"It's a balance, yeah. ... Well, that's been the great thing about it - Kathleen and her whole creative team have been so insistent on all the filmmakers they've been hiring for these new movies: 'We want you to take it and turn it into something that you really care about.' And we'll see how the process plays out, but so far, that's a big part of the reason I'm in it. Because that just seems like their attitude towards it. It's really exciting actually."
Terry Gilliam then pleads for Frank Oz, the man behind Yoda, to be brought back. Rian Johnson sees that as inevitable, which has many speculating that Yoda might have a cameo in one of the upcoming films as a Force Ghost.
"You kidding? How could you not. How could you not!"
Rian Johnson then recounted an argument he had with George Lucas, who thought the digital Yoda was the only way to go.
"I couldn't get through to him, he couldn't see how wrong he was!"
Star Wars is no stranger to director cameos. Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston played a Stormtrooper in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Sofia Coppola was in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, and George Lucas himself took on a role in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. Maybe Terry Gilliam should appear in one of the next two sequels. Teases Rian Johnson:
"We have to get you in there as a Hutt."
It's interesting that Rian Johnson commented on the Hutts. Its rumored that they will have a presence in Star Wars: Episode VII, with Princess Leia having a run in with a member of the family. One of the earlier set photos actually includes what looks to be a version of Ralph McQuarrie's Hutt headquarters. And the production did head back to Tatooine earlier in the year.
What do you think about all that was discussed? Is Rian Johnson the only man for this job?