Star Wars The Last Jedi

When did you decide that Luke Skywalker had to die in The Last Jedi?

It was something very early on that started to feel right to me.  It was a process.  It was very early when I thought, when I kind of landed on where Luke’s head was at and what his arc was going to be in terms of moving from someone who’s decided the galaxy is better off without Luke and the Jedi to fully embracing the galaxy needs a legend to believe in.  I’m going to put this on my shoulders and be the legend of Luke Skywalker for everybody.

When I knew that was his arc, I had the instant tinge of that means that’s the place for him to [die] because what else can he accomplish in the physical realm beyond that?  That would be the place emotionally that would have the most impact for him to let himself go.  […] I don’t know what’s gonna happen in Episode 9 at all, but there’s actually more potential for more interesting things in terms of his role in the final chapter if he moves into another realm.

He could be a Force ghost haunting Kylo Ren.

It’s fascinating, isn’t it?  A lot more fascinating than him just tagging along with our heroes with a lightsaber.  So to me, it opened up more potential and it seemed like having a full film that is Luke’s journey…it seemed like if there’s any place in the trilogy where it’s gonna have the most potent place, it would be here.  But believe me, I wasn’t looking forward to doing it.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Canto Bight aliens

I have a couple of questions that were submitted by readers who have seen the film, small ones, quickies.

Yeah.

The hacker that Maz Kanata sent Finn and Rose to find was the guy with the flower in the casino on Canto Bight?

Yeah.

So [Benicio Del Toro’s character] DJ was not the person that they were seeking.

No, the master code breaker, that’s the guy.  And then they didn’t find the guy, but they found a guy.

Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

What is the black hole cave thing that Rey goes into?

Well, the idea that this natural place reflected […] The idea that if there’s a Jedi Temple up top, the light, it has to be balanced by a place of great darkness.  We’re drawing a very obvious connection to Luke’s training and to Dagobah here, obviously.  And so the idea was if the up top is the light, down underneath is the darkness.  And she descends down into there and has to see, just like Luke did in the cave, her greatest fear.  And her greatest fear is [that], in the search for identity, she has nobody but herself to rely on. 

star wars the last jedi trailer 6 leia

I like how you played with time in that sequence. Why didn’t anybody respond when Leia called for help?

Oh, you mean out in the galaxy?

Yeah.

Well, we don’t get their perspective in this movie, so we just get the perspective of the [Resistance]… but my assumption and the assumption of the folks in the Resistance in that cave and Leia’s assumption is that they assume that hope is lost and that they can’t win this battle and that the spark of hope is out.  And that’s the whole thing that Luke restores when he comes back.  And that’s what starts spreading back out into the galaxy after he does his big act at the end, I think.

Last Jedi Phasma

Is there any chance Phasma survived this film?

Phasma is the Kenny of these movies.  So there’s always a chance.  But I don’t know.  J.J.’s writing the next one and I have no idea what he’s doing.  So all bets are off.

yoda

Did Yoda know that Rey took the books?

Oh, of course, yeah.

So that’s why he didn’t care…

Well, and also he has a line in there, if you watch it again, listen, he makes explicit reference to her taking the books.

She has everything she needs.” When I saw it the second time I was like oh…

Ah ha, you sneaky, little Muppet.

star-wars-the-last-jedi-rian-johnson-carrie-fisher

The passing of Carrie Fisher…obviously it impacted everyone and everybody ‘s probably asking you about that. And the film’s dedicated to her.  I want to ask, just purely, creatively, was there ever a thought of changing the film after her passing? .

Sure.  I could have.  I had the discussion with Kathy [Kennedy] when we came back from New Year’s after she had passed and looked through the scenes. We decided and I feel very strongly that even though it was going to be tricky in terms of how you handle it in the next chapter, we have this last performance from her.  I couldn’t see of any way of engineering something like what you’re talking about without losing the scene with her and Luke, or the scene with her and Rey at the end, or the scene with her and Holdo.  And then we’d be manufacturing something which would be manufactured and not great.  And I just felt like those scenes are such potent goodbyes to her.  I felt like we all deserve to have them up on screen.  And it’s such a beautiful ending, the fact that she kind of gets the last word in the movie and that last word is one of hope.  We have everything we need.  I want Princess Leia to tell me that right now, you know.  So we decided to stick with what was there.

I think you were successful. 

Oh thanks, man, I appreciate it.

Thank you very much.

Yeah, thanks, Peter.

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