While Star Wars: The Last Jedi received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from critics, fans have been a little more mixed on the second chapter of Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. One of the big complaints aimed towards the film is that it deviates from the seeds planted in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in favour of going off in its own direction, and director Rian Johnson has revealed to Deadline that Lucasfilm had no overarching story in place for the trilogy, and he was afforded full creative freedom to take Episode VIII where he wanted.
“That’s what’s been really cool about the storytelling process. There is definitely the idea that we know it is a three-movie arc. We know the first film is an introduction, then the middle act is training, meaning challenging the characters. The third is where they all come together and you have to resolve everything. But I was truly able to write this script without bases to tag, and without a big outline on the wall. That meant I could react to what I felt from The Force Awakens, and what I wanted to see. I could make this movie personal. I could also just take these characters where it felt right and most interesting to take them. I think part of the reason the movie feels like it goes to some unexpected places with the characters is that we had that freedom. If it had all just been planned out and written down beforehand, it might have felt a little more calculated, I suppose.”
The film has also come in for some criticism due to the level of humour – particularly given its darker tone and themes – and Johnson spoke out in defense of the humour during an interview with Vanity Fair, stating that he was looking to evoke the humour of the Original Trilogy:
“That was something that was really, really important to me. That’s part of what I enjoy in movies. It’s part of what I enjoy in Star Wars. I think about Han and Leia and Luke wisecracking their way through the Death Star. The movies always had that sense of humor. Especially coming into the middle chapter, it has a stigma of always being darker. I knew it was going to get darker in some spots just because of what we had to do. It was really important to me, to, at the very outset, make a bold statement of, we’re going to have fun here also. Relax, you can laugh with it also, this isn’t just going to be a dirge.”
In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 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) and Warwick Davis joined by new additions Jimmy Vee (Pan) as R2-D2, Kelly Marie Tran (Ladies Like Us) as Rose, Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy) as DJ and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) as Vice Admiral Holdo.