The always fantastic Anthony Breznican has once again outdone himself and sat down to chat with Rian Johnson about some of the unexpected scenes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you haven’t seen the film yet, then don’t read the rest of the article.
Is Captain Phasma dead?
Director Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill, and Gwendoline Christie all discussed if Phasma may return in Episode IX during a Q&A with Breznican.
“Phasma is the Kenny from South Park of this series,” he joked.
Among those rooting for her return is Luke Skywalker himself. “I think she’s got to survive,” Mark Hamill said, offering up his own theory. “She falls through the flames and lands on a big pile of rubbish.” Another person who has a secret idea for how Phasma could come back is the actress herself. “Gwendoline has it all figured out how she wants to come back,” said costume designer Michael Kaplan.
“No one’s ever really gone,” Hamill added, repeating one of Luke’s lines from the film.
Rian also talks about Phasma’s “half” face reveal:
“It seemed like a really striking thing to just glimpse the humanity behind it,” Johnson said. “Originally, we were like, ‘Should it be kind of monstrous? What should be behind there?’”
Johnson reveals that it was Daisy Ridley who came up with the idea to show Phasma’s eye when the mask gets damaged:
“I think we were talking about it and it was Daisy [Ridley] actually who said it should just be Gwendoline’s beautiful, piercing eye,” Johnson said. “Just this perfect blue eye behind this metal monster. I loved that image.”
Personally, when I first saw the film my initial thought was Phasma should stay dead. It would become almost a joke to bring her back. But then as I thought about it more I figured it would be very interesting to have her back in some capacity. Especially as an overarching villain for Finn and Rose. We’ll see if J.J. Abrams wants to resurrect her or not.
Was Kylo Ren lying about Rey’s parents?
Johnson gives some insight into the crucial moment between Rey and Kylo Ren, where Rey’s parents are revealed.
“I can’t speak to what they’re going to do. And there’s always, in these movies, a question of ‘a certain point of view,’” Johnson said.
“But for me, in that moment, Kylo believes it’s the truth,” Johnson added. “I don’t think he’s purely playing chess. I think that’s what he saw when they touched fingers and that’s what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it.”
“The easiest thing for Rey and the audience to hear is, Oh yeah, you’re so-and-so’s daughter. That would be wish fulfillment and instantly hand her a place in this story on a silver platter.”
“The hardest thing for her is to hear she’s not going to get that easy answer. Not only that, but Kylo is going to use the fact that you don’t get that answer to try and weaken you so you have to lean on him,” Johnson says. “You’re going to have to find the strength to stand on your own two feet and define yourself in this story.”
I am hoping they stick with Rey’s parents being nobodies. I don’t think Rey should have to lean on her parentage to make the character. I’m 100% OK with her just being Rey.
Johnson goes on to talk about one of the most unexpected scenes in the film, the death of Supreme Leader Snoke.
“When I was working on the character of Kylo, I came to a place where I thought the most interesting thing would be to knock the shaky foundation out from under him at the beginning of this movie,” Johnson said. “By the end of this film, he’s gone from being a wannabe Vader to someone who is standing on his own feet as a complex villain taking the reins. “But then the question is: What place would Snoke have at the end of that?” Johnson said. “That made me realize the most interesting thing would be to eliminate that dynamic between the ‘emperor’ and pupil, so that all bets are off going into the next one. That also led to the possibility of this dramatic turn in the middle, which could also be a really powerful connection point between Kylo and Rey.”
I think this is probably one of my favorite scenes in the film. I never would have thought that Snoke would die in this second chapter. I loved the twist.
The death of Luke Skywalker
Rian discusses his hesitation on killing off Luke Skywalker.
“I had huge hesitance,” Johnson says of ending one of the most beloved characters in movie history. “I was terrified. It was a growing sense of dread when I realized this was going to make sense in that chapter.”
Johnson says he talked extensively with the Lucasfilm story group and Kathleen Kennedy about the bold move to kill Luke.
“It was not like I wrote the script and dropped it on their desk. It was very important to me that I was collaborating with the folks at Lucasfilm from the word go,” he said. “I moved to San Francisco for a few months and would go in a few times a week to keep them up to date, spewing my ideas out, especially the big ones.”
Mark Hamill also comments on his shock when he found out Luke was going to die.
“Well, I’m still in denial,” Hamill joked. “I just think he transported somewhere else.” “The first thing I said was, ‘Can’t you wait and do this in Episode IX?'”
I highly recommend checking out the rest of Breznican’s articles over at Entertainment Weekly!