Wipes. A transition. They are used in movies to go from one scene to the next. And in the history of cinema, Star Wars has some of the most iconic. The series is known for a lot of things, and this is one of the more notorious. The Star Wars wipe has also been goofed on and spoofed unmercifully. It has now been revealed by director Rian Johnson that his next installment in the Skywalker family saga Star Wars: The Last Jedi has the least amount of wipes in any of the movies thus far.
Rian Johnson was feeling generous this weekend. On the eve of Force Friday 2, which happens this Friday, September 1, the filmmaker wanted to share a fun bit of trivia before a true wave of reveals and exciting Star Wars merchandise hit fans in the face like a wayward tsunami. He doesn't give us much. But it's a very fun tidbit indeed.
In discussing his wipe to scene transition ratio, Rian Johnson has confirmed that The Last Jedi only has a 'measly 12'. That isn't much. This 'big' reveal about Star Wars 8 and all the excitement contained within came after Johnson teasingly asking fans on his official Rain Johnson Twitter which of the franchise movies had the most wipes.
The answer to that question is actually quite astounding. Not for the movie itself, but for just how many wipes are in it. The winner hands down is 1999's The Phantom Menace, directed by series' creator George Lucas. It contains an astounding 55 wipes. That's pretty crazy. Perhaps people walked away from that prequel not enjoying it as much as they'd hoped simply because they were suffering wipe fatigue. Fans definitely felt every single one of those wipes, as they anxiously awaited the big Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Vs. Darth Maul fight at the end.
The Empire Strikes Back was next in line, with a pretty hefty 42 wipes, and that is considered by many to be the best movie in the entire franchise. A New Hope had 31 classic wipes. J.J. Abrams follows Last Jedi in that it's not as wipe heavy. It only had 14. But Abrams has never been a wipe man. And he made up for his lack of wipes with his signature lens flare. Though, he downplayed those considerably from his time spent on the Star Trek set. Return of the Jedi was left out of Johnson's poll. As were the other two prequels. Both of which were wipe heavy.
Speaking of wipes. An enterprising fan has uploaded a video that contains every wipe in Star Wars history. Which you can see below. It's pretty impressive. And it's good to know Rian Johnson will be keeping the tradition alive. Even if he goes skinny on the classic Hollywood-style transition.