Rian Johnson Reflects On The Creative Freedom He Enjoyed Upon Approaching Star Wars: The Last Jedi


When one ponders the inner workings of franchise filmmaking, it’s easy to assume that big-name blockbusters in the vein of Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow a strict formula imposed by the Powers That Be.

And though there are examples of studios adhering to a set template (see: the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Rian Johnson, writer-director of The Last Jedi, has recalled the amount of creative freedom he enjoyed upon approaching Episode VIII. Chatting to Empire as part of the outlet’s outgoing Star Wars coverage, the Looper filmmaker admitted that he “wasn’t given an outline” during the formative stages of development, and was instead asked to formulate the next chapter in the Skywalker saga on his own accord.

It’s a modus operandi that echoed Johnson’s days spent working on Brick and The Brothers Bloom, and here, the director recalls the narrative license given to him by Lucasfilm brass.

The perception of these films is that they’re all planned out on a secret sheet of paper in advance, but that’s just not the case. I wasn’t given an outline of where it goes or even a list of things to hit. It really was just, ‘Okay, what’s next?’

And though approaching a mega-budget tentpole like The Last Jedi was intimidating at first, Rian Johnson went on to reveal that penning Episode VIII was “the most fun” he’s ever had on a project.

I was terrified coming into this that I was gonna be like Barton Fink and have a script that was due six months ago and I’m still on page three writing about fishmongers. But it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing something. The whole experience was incredible: just tapping into my ten-year-old self. Even though it’s Star Wars, the whole thing has felt bizarrely similar to my experience making Looper or Brick or The Brothers Bloom.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is exactly 99 days out from its theatrical release, and word is that Rian Johnson has been earmarked as a potential replacement for Colin Trevorrow, erstwhile director of the untitled Episode IX. The 2019 Star Wars sequel is still in a state of flux following last night’s announcement, but we’ll be bringing you all the latest developments as the story unfolds.

Source: Empire