Four weeks after the sequel’s arrival, Rian Johnson has teamed with Empire Magazine to present an anatomy of Star Wars: The Last Jedi – topics discussed (so far) include Rey’s parentage and Luke Skywalker, who chose to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to buy precious time for the Resistance.
It worked like a charm, too, given General Leia and her weary troops were able to escape Crait with their lives intact. But now, Johnson’s post-launch analysis has circled back to focus on Kylo Ren and Rey, arguably the beating heart of this current Star Wars trilogy.
Indeed, their fiery relationship reached dizzying new heights in The Last Jedi, as the Force-sensitive duo were able to connect with one another from opposite ends of the galaxy. And though Supreme Leader Snoke was later revealed to be the true puppet master pulling the strings behind Kylo and Rey’s communication, Johnson believes Kylo Ren’s manipulation tactics can’t be overstated.
To write these characters, I always have to get inside their heads. I tend to step inside and have the most generous reading of any character’s motivation possible. I’ll say this – the moment when Kylo makes his appeal for her to join him, and Adam captured it so well in his little please, it was important to me that it wasn’t a chess game, it wasn’t just a manipulation. It’s unhealthy, and there’s much that is awful about the way that he is manipulative. From his point of view, it’s a very naked, open, emotional appeal. It’s his version of, ‘I’m just a girl standing in front of a guy’… The same way as when he tells his version of the story with Luke, that’s his experience of his moment.
Snoke, on the other hand, was quickly dispatched mid-way through Star Wars: The Last Jedi – during the super-stylish Throne Room scene, to be specific. It was a shocking end to the galaxy’s greatest villain – Darth Vader notwithstanding – though Rian Johnson went on to stress that “this is not Snoke’s story.”
I like Snoke as a character as Andy (Serkis) plays him. He’s delicious, evil and fun. But Kylo to me is where the interesting stuff is. And the notion of clearing the deck of the Vader/Emperor dynamic so that all bets are off in terms of how the villainy is going to play out, that to me seemed like a much more interesting thing. And it just seemed natural. If he had stopped in the middle of a scene and given a monologue, it would’ve stopped it dead in its tracks, and we would’ve cut it out in the editing room. This is not Snoke’s story.
The Supreme Leader is dead; long live the Supreme Leader. In truth, Snoke’s unceremonious death allowed Rian Johnson to double down on this saga’s true villain: Kylo Ren. He’s the character Anakin Skywalker should have been all those years ago – mercurial, impulsive…dangerous – and we simply can’t wait to see what Star Wars: Episode IX has in store for the erstwhile Ben Solo.
December 20th, 2019 is the date for your diaries. Closer to home, Lucasfilm has readied Solo: A Star Wars Story for release on May 25th.