Star Wars: The Last Jedi Director Rian Johnson Details His Reasons for Pushing the Saga Forward

Prior to 2017, the most divisive conversations about the Star Wars saga focused on whether fans did or didn't like the prequel films. The debut of Star Wars: The Last Jedi then became a line in the sand for many audiences, as writer/director Rian Johnson embraced the opportunity to break new ground with the film instead of delivering a more expected adventure, with some fans loving the approach while others hated the entry for falling short of their expectations. Lucasfilm, meanwhile, enjoyed the experience enough to offer the filmmaker a trilogy of his own, focusing on new characters. Johnson recently revealed why it was so important for him to take chances with The Last Jedi.

"I think the instant you start thinking in terms of how do you not step outside of the bounds of what the original movies did, you're not thinking the way the people who made the original movies did," Johnson shared on the Creative Processing with Joseph Gordon-Levitt podcast [H/T Twitter, MovieCooper]. "They were with every movie, they were pushing it forward, with every movie they were stepping outside those bounds and pushing the characters into new, emotionally honest, but surprising places. That's why those movies are great. That's why they're alive. If they had been looking at something that came before it and saying, 'Oh, we better not do this because that is outside of this or that,' it would've been different."

This recollection of why the filmmaker made the choices he made will surely excite fans of the film while frustrating its critics. While fans will interpret these comments to mean Johnson is fearless in paving a new path in the franchise, detractors will interpret his remarks to mean he intentionally negated what came before him merely for the sake of doing so and without earning it.

Regardless, the filmmaker is currently developing a series of films, the first of which he will write and direct, with a story focusing on all-new characters.

“I think that the fun and challenging part of it is to dive in, figure out what’s exciting and then figure out what it’s going to be,” Johnson shared with Observer of his approach to the new films. “We’re doing something that steps beyond the legacy characters. What does that look like? To me, the blue sky element of it is what was most striking about it. I know the way that I’m coming at it and what’s fun about it for everyone in George Lucas’ films is figuring out, ‘What’s the next step?’ It really makes you think and figure out what the essence of Star Wars is for me and what that will look like moving forward.”

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The next film in the franchise, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, lands in theaters on December 20th. Stay tuned for details on Johnson's films.

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