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Rian Johnson Brings Some Serious Heart to ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Which evidently involves Johnson directing a rather sensitive-looking Chewie scene too.
By  · Published on October 25th, 2017

Which evidently involves Johnson directing a rather sensitive-looking Chewie scene too.

USA Today has released an exclusive look behind-the-scenes at Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Drawing together interviews and sneak peeks into production, there seems to be one main focus in this entire operation: director Rian Johnson.

Taking us through sweeping studio set pieces and location shoots, the new featurette showcases Johnson’s easygoing yet thorough and hands-on approach to directing together with snippets of the cast of The Last Jedi praising his work ethic and drive. While there is a certain emotional quality to the video — people are being wonderfully sappy about their director, after all — there are little nuggets peppered throughout too. The featurette introduces potential new creatures and snippets of scenes, including some tense ones of Finn and Rose tensely walking through the First Order and Poe showing off just how badass he is in a high octane action scene.

Johnson is the centerpiece here: he oversees production with such glee and fervor, and directs with benevolence and good humor, inspiring many laughs from the cast. There is a clear display of camaraderie on set. But beyond Johnson’s inner fannish feelings (“I flashback to when I was a kid…with the action figures… Suddenly, I had a big lump in my throat.”), there is also an air of excitement bubbling throughout the shoot due to Johnson’s credentials. He is known for his work on gorgeously quirky, explosive and deeply contemplative films like Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper. Johnson also directed some of the best episodes in Breaking Bad history.

The heartfelt featurette is a great teaser for The Last Jedi, given that it doesn’t actually reveal anything plot-wise and instead focuses on the potential spectacle of the movie. Of course, anything could be a spoiler in this highly speculative fandom. However, as with much of the Star Wars franchise, similar themes of self-discovery, friendship and adventure will remain a staple in the narrative, and it’s extra lovely to see them play out behind-the-scenes too.

“That’s what I love about Rian’s approach to the story. It’s like a real journey of discovery.” — Mark Hamill

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)