“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson has gone into further and spoiler-filled details about the appearances of two small but key characters in the film and how the decisions made regarding them were important.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI”
The first is Supreme Leader Snoke. Seemingly being setup as this trilogy’s equivalent of The Emperor, it came as a bit of a surprise when this second film jumped forward and effectively did its version of Palpatine’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ death just over midway through the story.
Snoke’s sudden demise left us knowing very little about the character who remains a fairly simple villain in death, a device really to move the storyline of the true antagonist Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) along. Fans have speculated wildly since the character’s reveal years ago about who he was, and Johnson addressed how he came up with the idea of having Kylo Ren kill Snoke in a new EW piece:
“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…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?…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.”
He also makes it clear he didn’t want to add much of anything about Snoke’s backstory because it tended to ruin the film’s pacing:
“It would have stopped any of these scenes dead cold if he had stopped and given a 30-second speech about how he’s Darth Plagueis…It doesn’t matter to Rey. If he had done that, Rey would have blinked and said, ‘Who?’ And the scene would have gone on…and I’m not saying he’s Darth Plagueis!”
The other character is Yoda whom was resurrected in proper puppet form as opposed to a digital creation. Johnson tells Uproxx that they went to great detail to match the Yoda of the original trilogy:
“That felt really important to me. And, actually, I cut some of that out and Frank Oz said to me I had to put it back. Because when I first pitched him the scene, it’s like the Yoda from Empire is back because that’s the one Luke had the emotional connection with. And that’s why we did the puppet and recreated the Empire puppet: Neal Scanlan and his team did a recreation of the Yoda puppet.
It’s not only a puppet, it’s an exact replica of the Empire puppet. They found the original molds for it. They found the woman that painted the original eyes for Yoda. Then Frank came and worked with them for a few weeks to get the puppet right. He did a lot of testing and a lot of adjusting with the puppet creators. It was amazing to watch the process. The idea that the last time Luke saw Yoda was in Return of the Jedi and the notion of getting back to that version of Yoda to form the emotional connection with Luke – including a glimpse of the impishness, as part of their relationship. It made a lot of sense.”
He also spoke about the final scene of the film with a young boy on Canto Bight demonstrating force power and hearing the stories of Luke Skywalker’s heroism. He tells Cinema Blend that the shot is meant to signify the rebirth of hope in everyday people following Luke’s sacrifice:
“First and foremost, that scene and the stable kids were about, for me, Luke’s journey and about the final act that Luke does, and showing at the end of the movie that it wasn’t just about saving 20 people in the cave, but that it was about taking on the mantle of the legend of Luke Skywalker so that that would then spread through the galaxy and reignite the hope, and the underclass would start to rise again. And so… showing THAT through the stable boy at the end, that was the real intent of the scene. And yeah, just the little hint of… there is more out there.”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is now out in cinemas everywhere.