Per Collider, the filmmaker confirmed that The Last Jedi‘s first cut came in “well over three hours,” though the finished product is seemingly “much better” now that it’s been trimmed to two and a half – or 150 minutes, if we’re being all exact. To his credit, Johnson always knew that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be a lengthy expansion of The Force Awakens – it’s the crucial second chapter in Lucasfilm’s current trilogy, after all – and here, the director recalls the moment when his imminent follow-up clocked in over the three-hour marker:
We had a long movie from the start. It was well over three hours, the first cut… It’s much better at two and a half [hours] than it was at over three, but it was a cut I had put together, is where we started. And it was over three hours.
Like all great directors, Rian Johnson and his editing team then began to nip and tuck at The Last Jedi, but if you’re worried that the cut footage will remain stowed away in the Lucasfilm vaults, don’t; Johnson then went on to discuss how the deleted scenes will eventually be included in the Blu-ray release.
A lot of really good stuff came out in the edit. I actually just reviewed the deleted scenes we’re gonna have on the Blu-ray. There’s a bunch of—some of my favorite scenes ended up having to come out just structurally… There’s a lot of really substantial, really good scenes. There’s a couple whole sequences actually that we lifted out. It’s weirdly—and this always happens—it’s like your babies you have to kill. It’s some of my favorite stuff from the movie.
Much like its blockbuster brethren, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has pumped out a ton of footage via trailers, TV spots and various international promos, so there’s a good chance some of that content won’t make it into the final cut. And it looks like we can forget about an extended cut altogether, as Rian Johnson tells Collider:
I’m really not into [releasing an extended cut]. I feel like the cut is what it is because I feel like it’s the best version of the movie, so the ‘director’s cut’ is the movie that’s going out in theaters. All the deleted scenes, no matter how much I love them, they came out for a reason and it’s all for the greater good of the movie itself. You can watch the deleted scenes on their own, I think that’s the way to watch them, but the movie is definitely the best version of the movie I think.
So, there you have it; if nothing else, The Last Jedi will make history on December 15th as the longest Star Wars film in history – just don’t hold your breath for an extended cut.