Star Wars: The Last Jedi Director Talks Rey “Forceback” And Those Delightful Little Porgs

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“Rey, these are your first steps.”

In what is perhaps one of the more crucial scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s Jakku orphan Rey is quietly coaxed into the bowels of Maz Kanata’s castle, where she encounters a long-lost lightsaber belonging to the Skywalker family. It was, of course, Luke’s ‘saber, and his father’s (Anakin/Darth Vader) before him. Now, it calls to Rey.

Exactly why it’s reaching out to Ridley’s budding Jedi is still up for debate – surely it has something to do with Rey’s parentage, no? – but while promoting The Last Jedi in an exhaustive interview with Rolling Stone (via CBM), the sequel’s writer-director Rian Johnson highlighted the importance of that so-called “Forceback.”

Just like any process of writing, it’s more excavation than sculpture. You’re finding it as you go, and you realize it wants to be a certain thing. So yeah, the flashback was essential, but the dynamic between each of the characters was essential. Every single thing in The Force Awakens, I studied forensically.

It’ll likely filter into the story of The Last Jedi, too, with online theories suggesting that Luke Skywalker will allow Rey to see the moment when Kylo Ren betrayed him and slaughtered his fellow Padawans in cold blood.

On a much more lighter note, Johnson went on to discuss those delightful little porgs and, more specifically, the inspiration behind Skellig Michael’s fictional avians:

When we first scouted Skellig Michael, the island where we shot Luke’s stuff, it was covered in puffins. It’s a bird sanctuary, actually. So there were all these adorable little puffins all over the island. It was first just like, ‘OK, let’s come up with the Star Wars version of that.’ Also, I knew that I wanted any opportunity for lightness or comic relief I could find on the island. So that combination led to the Porgs. I apologize. [Laughs] No, I love ’em, I really love ’em!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now only four days away, and we can hardly wait – especially now that early reactions have deemed Rian Johnson’s follow-up to be a “mind-blowing, beautiful” space opera.

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