As the director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson obviously holds a lot of sway with the Star Wars franchise, and it seems this extended to some input in J.J. Abrams’ first film in the Sequel Trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Since The Last Jedi begins pretty much where The Force Awakens ends, with Rey holding out Luke’s old lightsaber to enlist his help against The First Order, Johnson was privy to how Abrams would end the film, but asked Abrams for a favour to change one thing about the ending.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Johnson revealed that the ending originally saw BB-8, not R2-D2, travel with Rey to meet Luke: “Yes … The big favor was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance. Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, ‘Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?’”
The motivation behind the change was apparently so Johnson could give Luke another friendly face and someone who had been with him when his new Jedi Order fell. It also serves to put Luke and R2, two original characters who were somewhat sidelined in The Force Awakens, at the very centre of The Last Jedi and examine why Luke went into a self-imposed exile in the first place. Tackling that issue, and why Luke would not help Leia, Han or the rest of the galaxy in a dire time of need, was something Johnson needed to figure out when writing the script.
The trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released last month at Star Wars Celebration Orlando and ended with Luke ominously saying “I only know one truth: its time for the Jedi to end”. Going off that massive story point, Johnson said: “Figuring out where his head was at was the very first thing I had to do when writing the movie. I had to crack this. And it had to be something for me that first and foremost made sense. Why did Luke Skywalker go off to this island? That was the starting point, and that’s what the entire movie explores. I didn’t want it to. There has to be a good reason that makes sense to him — and to some degree makes sense to us.”
What do you think about Johnson’s comments? Are you glad Luke and R2 will be back together again? Do you hope Luke joins the fight sooner than later? Let us know below…
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set for release on December 15th and sees returning cast members Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt), and Warwick Davis joined by new additions Jimmy Vee (Pan) as R2-D2, Kelly Marie Tran (Ladies Like Us) as Rose, and Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park).