Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rian Johnson Talks About The Return of an Old Friend Long Gone in 'The Last Jedi'

By: Dominic Jones


While Star Wars: The Last Jedi spent most of its runtime focusing on the characters who will be taking the story in the future, it also took some time out to bring back an old favourite.  During the film, the Jedi master Yoda appears to Luke Skywalker as a Force ghost during one of Luke's moments of weakness to pass on some much needed wisdom.  Writer/director Rian Johnson and producer Ram Bergman took part in a live Q&A with Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican where they spoke about why they chose to bring back Yoda and the secrecy surrounding the Jedi master's return.

About why he chose to bring back Yoda, Johnson said, "When I was thinking about what Luke’s arc is going to be, and realized that someone coming back and kicking his butt would be his final beat on the island, Yoda just made the most sense."

Bergman explained that keeping Yoda's role a secret meant some cooperation from actor Frank Oz (which Oz mostly complied with).  Bergman said, 

"I had to convince Frank to basically make sure we don’t put his name on the poster, and not to do any press about it.  I made sure he ate in the office and not publicly in the restaurant when he came to Pinewood [Studios.]"

As for why Luke's first mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, who appeared to Luke several times as a Force ghost throughout the original trilogy, didn't make an appearance, Johnson explained that he felt it wouldn't have been true to the story to do it without Obi-Wan's original actor, Sir Alec Guiness.  While it would have been possible to get Ewan McGregor (who portrayed Obi-Wan in the prequels and leant his voice to a scene in The Force Awakens) to play the part, Johnson explained he felt it wouldn't have worked as well, saying, "If we had brought Ewan in, it would have been fun, but Mark as Luke has never had a relationship with the Ewan version of Obi-Wan."

In my opinion, a scene between Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and Mark Hamill would have been awesome, but I understand why they didn't go that way.  While I don't love (to put it mildly) Yoda's look in The Last Jedi, I love his dialogue and interactions with Luke.  The scene was very powerful and is something I am really glad we got to see in the sequel trilogy.  Now I'm just holding out hope for an appearance by Hayden Christensen as Force ghost Anakin Skywalker in Episode IX.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters now.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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