Long before The Last Jedi hit theaters last month, there had been rumors about how much the story was similar to Empire Strikes Back, after many fans had complained about how similar The Force Awakens was to A New Hope. In actuality, those claims couldn't have been further from the truth, although rumors of Rey's Jedi training often surfaced, and now director Rian Johnson has offered details about his initial pitch to LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy. While his pitch did focus on "training," it's not what you'd expect.
Fans learned early on that, unlike most Star Wars movies, which featured a large time gap between adventures, The Last Jedi picked up immediately after The Force Awakens left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) arriving on Ahch-to to deliver Luke SKywalker (Mark Hamill) his original lightsaber. Rumors quickly surfaced that Rey would begin her Jedi training, just like Luke began his training on Dagobah with Yoda. During a new interview, Rian Johnson revealed details about his original pitch, which included levels of "training" for not just Rey, but other characters as well.
"When I got the job, and especially when it broke on the internet and everyone started talking about it and I was like, 'Oh my God, I guess I'm actually doing this,' it was really scary. But then, when I sat down to write, it was actually the most fun I've ever had writing. I guess maybe because it was a blank page, but I had a starting point (with The Force Awakens). After Kathy asked me if I'd be interested in it, we had a series of conversations, and basically my pitch was the first movie is like the introduction, the second movie is training. And by 'training,' I mean we take each of these characters and we really test their mettle. So I said that would be my approach to it, it's a very character-based approach where we just start with each one of these characters we care about and figure out what the hardest next step is for each of them. So having that trailhead to go from, it was also nice because it gives you a direction as opposed to just having a big cloud of childhood fantasies, of 'Wouldn't it be cool to see the Falcon do this or that?' that you could get lost in, it wasn't like that...once I actually started doing the work, I found that it felt really comfortable. And then all the childhood fantasy stuff is just fuel for the fire."
While The Last Jedi may still be quite divisive among hardcore fans, that hasn't hindered its box office performance in any way, with the movie passing $600 million at the domestic box office just a few days ago, further cementing its spot as the top movie at the domestic and worldwide box office in 2017. Still, many fans were upset when the rumors surfaced about the movie sticking so closely to Empire Strikes Back, which is considered by many to be the best Star Wars movie. When The Last Jedi finally came out, the story was wildly different than anyone could have imagined, leading to many of those same fans now bashing the movie for being too different. It even got to a point where, just last week, director Rian Johnson responded to the haters in a series of brilliant tweets.
It was also revealed yesterday that The Last Jedi earned four Oscar nominations, to go along with its box office clout. The movie was nominated for Best Original Score (John Williams), Best Visual Effects (Richard Bain, Ben Morris, Neil Scanlan, and Chris Corbould), Best Sound Mixing (David Parker, Michael Semanick, Stuart Wilson) and Best Sound Editing (Matthew Wood). These new details came from Rian Johnson's interview with /Film.