“Unexpected, but right…”
Daisy Ridley, in an interview featured in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi Behind the Scenes” explained of the film, “Rian has written a story that’s unexpected, but right.”
As of yet, nobody save Lucasfilm staffers can speak to that sentiment, but opinion from fans who watched the short during Saturday’s “Walt Disney Studios’ Live-Action Presentation” at D23 Expo seemed overwhelmingly positive.
A sampling of fan reaction…
Goosebumps and butterflies. Literally! I didn’t think I could be more excited for TLJ. But I was wrong. The BTS exceeded my expectations.
— Debby Anderson (@dragondebby) July 16, 2017
Giddy would be an understatement in terms of my feelings about it now. Wow. Cast seem genuinely excited by it.
— Gaz (@Gaz_E) July 16, 2017
for me, I felt that people were hyped but I’m extremely biased as the BTS reel blew me away
— Kate Gardner (@mskategardner) July 16, 2017
It got good response and was a good presentation but Marvel blew the roof off. No way TLJ could’ve followed that.
— Jeremy Conrad @ D23 (@ManaByte) July 16, 2017
A Nuanced Approach
Since the Marvel footage didn’t officially reach the public, many are unable to make the above comparison.
However, because of the nature of the short shown by Lucasfilm, “blowing the roof off” didn’t seem to be Disney’s aim. No, a more nuanced method is in play.
Given the troubles that occurred on the set of the untitled Han Solo film, the re-shoots that frightened fans before the release of Rogue One, and accusations of a “soft re-boot” of A New Hope levied at The Force Awakens, today’s montage mission seems clear.
“The message of this video is largely about the [Director] Rian Johnson and the story he’s telling,” said Alex Damon, the real life Jedi Librarian of Star Wars Explained.
“It’s about reassuring fans that the Last Jedi will be unique.”
A Unique Message
The first trailer put fans on that path, particularly because of Luke’s exclamation that “the Jedi must end…”
Damon correctly pointed out that everyone in this second video remains very much on message.
“Some of the stuff that happens, [fans] are going to be like, ‘Oh my god,'” continued Ridley, who plays scavenger turned Force-wielder in the Sequel Trilogy.
“And even though everybody knows it’s the second in the trilogy, it feels like its own thing,” she emphasized.
“I think I know it all,” said Disney Legend Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). “Then they throw things at me — story-wise — I never could have imagined.”
Echoing the veteran actor, Gwendolyn Christie (Phasma), whose role figures to be more prominent in The Last Jedi (in comparison to her almost-cameo during The Force Awakens) said, “It feels like the storyline’s becoming more established.
“We’re really getting to know these new characters,” she added. “Also, with the characters that we know and love, we’re seeing their lives change.”
“Also, with the characters that we know and love, we’re seeing their lives change.”
John Boyega (Finn), the actor who best assimilated the culture of Star Wars (see his tweets on changes to the Battlefront series as Exhibit A) told cameras, “Everything is being shifted in an opposite way to what the audience expected after [episode] seven.
“Rian made Star Wars fresh and new,” he concluded.
For his part, in the piece Johnson speaks like a groom hoping he picked the right ring for his beloved; a quiet confidence belying a belief in his choice but also registering in its timbre a sincere hope for a positive result.
“I am hoping it will be a little shocking,” said Johnson. “I am hoping it will feel real, and honest.”
It’s About Family
Finally, in a stamp-of-approval moment, the late Carrie Fisher (Leia) provides a climax to the short stating, “It’s about family, and that’s what so powerful about it.”
Bookending the short is Admiral Akbar clapping the completion of the film; the actor inside the mask parodying his most famous line by saying, “It’s a wrap!”
However, what we have as the scene fades out isn’t actually the end of a behind the scenes short.
Instead, Star Wars again has its audience (who perhaps went into the reel underwhelmed by the lack of news on the standalone films) wrapped up in the possibilities inherent in its next saga film; not one of us wanting to wait until December 15.