‘The Last Jedi’: Rian Johnson Reveals the Surprising Line That Was Totally Improvised
After Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, director J.J. Abrams basically went into radio silence, not speaking much about the film’s most surprising moments until way later. But Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, has taken the complete opposite approach.
Since that film’s release, Johnson has participated in tons of interviews and Q&As, during which he has revealed some fascinating pieces of information about the movie. Here are the most interesting recent tidbits we’ve learned about The Last Jedi, including the surprising line that wasn’t even in the script, and a deleted scene involving Luke and Rey.
1. The movie was influenced by the prequels
With The Force Awakens, it seemed that J.J. Abrams modeled the movie entirely off of the original trilogy and did not care much about the prequels. But Johnson did not have that same attitude. In a recent Collider Q&A, Johnson said that he had all of the Star Wars movies on an iPad during production and would frequently watch the prequels to refamiliarize himself with their visual language.
“I watched the prequels a lot, actually, in my preparation both for the writing and then when we were in prep,” Johnson said. “The notion of finding echoes not just in the original trilogy, but also in the prequel trilogy, felt like it would be a really rich well to draw from.”
Johnson went on to compare the final scene of Kylo Ren looking up at Rey in The Last Jedi to the scene in Revenge of the Sith where we see Anakin’s face for the last time before the Darth Vader mask lowers onto him. “You see that glimpse of, is it fear? Is it regret? What is it? What’s going through [Anakin’s] mind in that moment?” Johnson asked. “That’s that kind of moment for Ben.”
Next: Johnson explains what Kylo was thinking during a key scene.
2. Kylo knew he was going to kill Snoke before he entered the throne room
When Rey arrives on the Dreadnought and Kylo Ren begins taking her to Snoke, has Kylo already made up his mind that he’s going to kill Snoke? Or is that something he decides during the course of that throne room sequence? Johnson recently answered this question, explaining that Kylo was planning to kill Snoke the whole time but was trying to figure out how to do it.
He walks in there knowing basically that he is going to betray Snoke and look for an opportunity, but he doesn’t yet know exactly what the mechanism is and what his opportunity is going to be. But he’s gone in there with the intent of, whether it’s now, or whether it’s later, or whenever it is … When he sees that opportunity with that lightsaber next to him and sees Snoke distracted, he goes for it.
Next: The cave sequence in the movie almost looked quite a bit different.
3. The cave sequence almost involved Reys at different ages
One of the craziest scenes in The Last Jedi is the trippy cave vision sequence, in which we see a row of thousands of Reys. But this scene could have been even more insane. Recently, Johnson was interviewed by the Slashfilmcast, and he explained that one of his scrapped ideas for the cave scene involved having all of the Reys at different ages going back to her as a baby.
At one point, I had the wacky idea of, “Should it be like a [2001: A Space Odyssey] type thing, where each one of the Reys is a little younger?” And as she goes down the line, it’s younger and younger and younger Rey going back to her origin. And then when you get to the end, it’s like the space baby in 2001 where it’s baby Rey, and it’s a shadowy figure holding the baby who you think is the mother, and then it reveals that it’s Rey holding herself as a baby. Really wacky stuff like that.
Next: Johnson explains something that some fans have pointed to as a plot hole.
4. The reason Holdo’s maneuver had never been used before
As cool as it is to see Holdo go to lightspeed in order to take down a Dreadnought, this does raise the question of why characters in Star Wars aren’t doing that all the time.
Johnson was asked this during an interview with the Slashfilmcast. He didn’t really have a concise explanation, but he said that he imagines that going to lightspeed to take down a ship would be frowned upon and would possibly even be a war crime. He also suggested that perhaps nobody had ever thought to do so before Holdo.
“It’s not like that was the plan to do this,” Johnson said. “It’s this spur the moment thing, this idea that she gets, that she sits down and f*cking does, and it obviously takes everybody completely by surprise. It takes Hux by surprise. The fact that Hux doesn’t see it coming means it’s probably not a standard military maneuver.”
Next: A key moment in the film was added to the script at the actor’s request.
5. Domhnall Gleeson asked Johnson to add in a crucial Hux moment
Domhnall Gleeson recently revealed that he asked Johnson to add in the moment where Hux reaches for his weapon in Snoke’s throne room, only to stop when Kylo begins waking up.
“That was the one moment I asked Rian for,” Gleeson said. “General Hux is like a kicked dog for the whole movie, he just keeps on getting thrown into stuff and bullied, and I was like, ‘I wouldn’t like people to forget that he’s also a really nasty piece of work and could have an effect on the way things move forward.'”
Next: This one surprising line in the film was improvised by the actor.
6. Benicio Del Toro came up with his final line in the film
A great line in The Last Jedi comes after DJ has betrayed Finn and Rose about two-thirds of the way through the film. DJ considers this to be just business, and he sees no real difference between helping the Resistance and helping the First Order. “You’re wrong,” Finn tells DJ. Cynically, DJ responds, “Maybe.”
As it turns out, this line was not in the script. Johnson recently revealed that in the script, DJ responded, “Wrong, and rich.” But on set, Benicio Del Toro told Johnson he didn’t like this, describing it as a very “movie line.” Johnson agreed, and so Del Toro decided he would instead say “maybe.”
Johnson was quite happy with the result, citing this as his favorite line in the film.
This was not the only thing that Del Toro came up with on his own. Apparently, DJ’s voice was entirely Del Toro’s idea.
Next: A deleted scene that would have been great to see in the movie
7. There was a deleted scene where Rey gets a final lesson and confronts Luke
Luke tells Rey that he will teach her three lessons in The Last Jedi, but he only winds up teaching her two. The reason for that is because there was a sequence involving a third lesson that was cut from the movie.
According to Slashfilm, this sequence involved there being a big fire on the island and Luke telling Rey this is a group of bandits killing the caretakers, something that happens sometimes. Rey wants to help them, but Luke tells her she must not intervene because doing so is not the Jedi way. Rey disregards what Luke says and goes to save them anyway, only to find out Luke was lying; the fire is actually just coming from a big party the caretakers are throwing. The lesson is that the Resistance needs good people like Rey who want to help others, not some old failed religion like the Jedi.
Recently, an episode of The Star Wars Show on YouTube featured clips from this deleted scene, including an emotional moment in which Rey confronts Luke and tells him, “That old legend of Luke Skywalker that you hate so much, I believed in it.” The scene was reportedly cut from the film because it made Luke seem too mean, but we’ll see this deleted sequence on the Blu-ray.
Next: This big moment in the movie echoes The Empire Strikes Back.
8. The Rey parentage reveal was inspired by The Empire Strikes Back
There have been a lot of comparisons made between The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back. But in a recent interview, Johnson made one of his own, saying that he was thinking of the famous “I am your father” twist while writing the Rey parentage reveal.
While speaking to the Slashfilmcast, Johnson said that he wanted the reveal to be the hardest possible thing for Rey to hear and something that would make the audience uncomfortable, which is exactly true of the Darth Vader twist in Empire. In this case, Rey is denied a simple answer about what her place in all of this is, and she must figure it out for herself.
It’s weirdly similar to the “I am your father” moment with Vader. It’s oddly going for the same impact that moment had but with the inverse answer. “I am your father” was the hardest thing that Luke could hear in that moment and the audience because it takes what was a very simple bad guy and suddenly turns him into something much more complicated. To give Rey that moment of “oh no,” it had to be the exact opposite answer.
Next: This revelation will be music to the ears of Reylo shippers.
9. Kylo’s plea to Rey is like a romance film
This next revelation is sure to get Reylo shippers excited. While speaking to Empire Online, Johnson talked about the great scene in the film in which Kylo asks Rey to join her. Johnson said that Kylo was not trying to manipulate Rey; he really was putting himself out there. Johnson also explained this scene by citing a classic line from the romantic comedy Notting Hill.
“From his point of view, it’s a very naked, open, emotional appeal,” Johnson said. “It’s his version of, ‘I’m just a girl standing in front of a guy.'”
The full line that Johnson is quoting is “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.” Needless to say, those who have long maintained that the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey will turn romantic don’t seem so crazy anymore.
Next: Why this scene that some fans expected to see did not happen.
10. There wasn’t time for a Han Solo funeral, but there will be in the novelization
After the death of Han Solo, some fans expected we might see a funeral for him in The Last Jedi. But Johnson says that he never really considered doing this just because there was no time.
Johnson told Collider that “pacing-wise it didn’t have a place.” He also added:
It’s tough in Star Wars because I always think about the mourning that Luke gives to Ben’s death, which is all of four-and-a-half seconds before, “Come on kid we’re not out of this yet” and then boom, you’re into “Yay, woo-hoo! Don’t get cocky!” There’s the moment for it, but it’s not long. We don’t have time for our sorrows, commanders. That’s kind of the thing of Star Wars; you don’t really linger on grief because you’re moving forward.
This is the kind of thing there’s time for in a book, though, and a recent episode of The Star Wars Show confirmed that the Last Jedi novelization will include a Han Solo funeral scene.
Next: Did this character actually survive to make a return in IX?
11. Johnson has compared Phasma to Kenny from South Park
In a recent interview, Johnson suggested Phasma could still be alive. He told Entertainment Weekly that Phasma is the “Kenny from South Park of this series,” referring to the fact that Kenny from South Park constantly “dies” only to return in the next episode.
Johnson was obviously joking around here. But this quote was still music to the ears of Phasma fans. In another interview with Slashfilm, Johnson made the same joke. But this time, he also said that “there’s always a chance” that Phasma is still alive. He noted that it’s completely up to J.J. Abrams, who is currently writing Episode IX.
For what it’s worth, Hamill also told Entertainment Weekly that “I think she’s got to survive,” and costume designer Michael Kaplan said that “Gwendoline has it all figured out how she wants to come back.”
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