Why ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Wrapped Production So Early

Director Rian Johnson has announced that post-production on Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finished. The movie doesn’t hit theaters for another three months, though, so how is it that Johnson was able to complete the movie this early?

With The Last Jedi, it’s not that making the film took less time than The Force Awakens and Rogue One did. It’s just that production started a bit earlier than it did on those movies. Principal photography on The Last Jedi began way back in February 2016, 22 months before the film’s final release date. For comparison, principal photography on The Force Awakens began in April 2014, 20 months before the release date, and principal photography on Rogue One began in August 2015, 16 months before the release date.

In addition, The Last Jedi was originally going to open in May 2017. But when principal photography was delayed a month due to rewrites, the film was moved from May until December. This turned out to be more time than Rian Johnson needed.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi title card

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Lucasfilm

Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One were being tweaked a few weeks ahead of their release dates, but The Last Jedi is completely done with three months to spare. To be clear, when Rian Johnson says that production on the movie is wrapped, that means that the film could be screened right now and it would be the same movie that will be seen in theaters on December 15. When a fan on Twitter asked Johnson to clarify whether the movie is all done or whether the special effects and sound still need some tweaking, Johnson replied by saying that they’re all done.

This fits with a report from Slashfilm earlier this month that The Last Jedi is essentially finished and that it could be shown in theaters right now.

“I’ve heard that they’ve been locked on The Last Jedi for a couple of months now,” Peter Sciretta reported for Slashfilm. “It is completely finished. They could screen it today if they needed to. It’s that close.”

Rey bent over, sweaty and panting

Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Lucasfilm

By all accounts, production on The Last Jedi has gone rather smoothly. Disney and Lucasfilm are reportedly pleased with Rian Johnson’s work, and the movie has had no publicized behind-the-scenes drama as has become common on Star Wars. Lucasfilm has already fired four directors off of various Star Wars films, and Rouge One went through extensive reshoots that took place only a few months before the film was released. The only real setback that The Last Jedi went through was the film being delayed from May to December, but that was apparently because it underwent some rewrites in January 2016 so that it could incorporate characters who were unexpectedly well-received in The Force Awakens.

We still don’t have a full trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with Disney only having released a single teaser over five months ago. Mark Hamill recently implied on Twitter that the trailer is coming out on October 9, though he later claimed to be joking.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15.