Rian Johnson Trusted His “Inner Fan” While Crafting Star Wars: The Last Jedi


Ever since A New Hope first blasted onto the big screen 40 years ago, Star Wars has been capable of bringing out the inner child in us all. Be it the sweeping vistas of far-flung alien worlds or that by-now famous shot of Luke Skywalker gazing at the twin sunset aboard Tatooine, this is a franchise that means many things to many people, so it’s small wonder why Rian Johnson took a moment to let it all sink in upon signing on to direct Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Fast forward to now, and with only four months left until The Last Jedi‘s release, Johnson swung by The Star Wars Show (via THR) to discuss all things Episode VIII – within reason, of course.

The first port of call for the filmmaker was recounting the formative days during pre-production on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, including what it was like to work on a script for a film of this magnitude. But by calling on his experience helming Looper, The Brothers Bloom, and multiple episodes of Breaking Bad – not to mention his own admiration of the series – Rian Johnson placed his trust in his “inner fan” while crafting Episode VIII of the Skywalker saga.

Johnson has gone on record in the past about the amount of creative freedom he enjoyed while helming The Last Jedi. And though his sequel may share connective tissue with Empire Strikes Back, the writer-director has been quick to stress that his addition to the Star Wars canon won’t be a carbon copy of Episode V.

Here, Johnson weighs in on what it was like scripting The Last Jedi for Disney:

Once I actually jumped into it, it was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. It was the least scary process. I think part of it was, I wasn’t alone for the process. I was writing on my own, but I moved up to San Francisco for a few months, and every few weeks I would go in and sit down with Kiri Hart and her whole story group team, and I would just put everything I was thinking of up on the white board and just bounce it off everyone. Just see what everyone thought. Having that kind of gut check — not just for, wait, don’t do that, but for, yeah, you can do that, if that’s interesting to you, take that path — having that permission from somebody, I think that had a lot to do with it.

Featuring a more “volatile” Chewbacca and a horde of cutesy alien allies (see: the porgs), Star Wars: The Last Jedi is booked in for release on December 15th. Other Star Wars projects in the works over at the House of Mouse include the as-yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff (May 25th, 2018) and Colin Trevorrow’s nascent Episode IX.