TV & FILM
brian-mcgee - September 7, 2017
Well, Star Wars Episode IX has been without a director for well over 24 hours now, but Lucasfilm isn't focusing on that debacle. Instead, they've got the specter of The Last Jedi hanging over their heads. With a little over three months to go until the film's release, we've only seen one trailer, some behind the scenes stuff, and lots of toys. Director Rian Johnson sat down with The New York Times for an interview published yesterday—but conducted before Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow got the boot—and let slip some interesting tidbits of information...
Although we've technically known this since roughly thirty seconds into The Force Awakens, some people haven't given up hope that the title was supposed to be plural. Johnson puts those rumors right to bed, right away...
It’s in the opening crawl of “The Force Awakens.” Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies — everything is from a certain point of view — but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he’s removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown.
There you have it, folks. Can we stop with all the stupid speculation about that now?
Johnson is careful to point out that he doesn't view Kylo Ren as the villain of the film in the same way Vader was the villain of the original trilogy. He's more interested in a Kylo who's not as in control and commanding as Vader was...
Rey and Kylo are almost two halves of our protagonist. It’s not like Kylo is our Vader. In the original trilogy, Vader is the father — he’s the one you’re afraid of and who you want the approval of. Whereas Kylo represents anger and rebellion, the sometimes healthy — and sometimes not — desire to disconnect from the parents. It’s my favorite kind of quote-unquote bad guy, because you can genuinely see what their weakness is.
I expect that either Rey or Kylo Ren is going to switch sides by the end of this movie, and it doesn't seem all that bloody likely that Rey would lean toward the dark side unless it turns out Snoke is her father... GASP!
Johnson is an interesting directorial counterpoint to J.J. Abrams, who is obsessed with mystery boxes and posing questions for the audience he has no intention of answering. Johnson could care less about that stuff, unless it serves the characters or the story, otherwise he just views it all as frivolous...
Take the question of who Rey’s parents are: If you get the information — oh, it’s that! — who really cares? I know a lot of people care, but it’s interesting as opposed to impactful. Now, what is my place in the world? Where do I come from? Where do I belong? O.K., I understand what the weight of that is. We could play with those questions and their answers to have the biggest emotional impact on these characters.
So two of the bigger mysteries coming out of Force Awakens aren't likely to be answered in this film, namely what is Snoke's bigger goal and who are Rey's parents. I imagine if Johnson does indeed take over directorial duties on Episode IX, he's going to have to start caring about that stuff since he can no longer just pass the hot potato to some other guy. I'm curious to see where all of this goes, and I guess we'll all find out on December 15.
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