The second film in the latest Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was in many ways a bit different from its predecessor Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its successor, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Not only did it have a different writer and director in Rian Johnson, there were also some new characters as well as the absence of some other characters, including Greg Grunberg's Temmin "Snap" Wexley. According to Grunberg, it wasn't his choice to not be part of The Last Jedi and it not being a part of that film is something that he admits disappointed him.
"No, we didn't," Grunberg told The Hollywood Reporter when asked if a backstory for Snap had been developed to explain his absence in The Last Jedi. "That wasn’t my doing. I was just like, 'Yeah, whatever they give me.' Let's go back: When Episode VIII was announced and I did not get a call, I checked with J.J. and was like, 'I know you're not a part of this, but can you check since I haven't gotten a call?' It wasn't just me; Jessica Henwick and all these other pilots were saying, 'Are we going? Did you hear anything? What's going on?' Rian just made a conscious decision not to bring back these other characters, and I was really bummed about that."
Grunberg also said that, from a fan perspective, he was a little disappointed, though he also said that he loved The Last Jedi overall.
"As a fan, one of the things that I love seeing is those smaller roles -- even if they're just passing by in a scene, I think it's wonderful. I know J.J. checked with Kathy [Kennedy] and with Rian; it was just a creative decision that they made," he said. "I loved Episode VIII; I thought it was great. So that was the saving grace for me even though I was disappointed. But, whatever, I was working on other stuff."
Of course, not being part of The Last Jedi wasn't the only surprise Grunberg had when it came to Star Wars. Snap's death in The Rise of Skywalker was a bit of a surprise, though one that there were several conversations around.
"So, he tells me this during the writing process and says, 'We're thinking about killing Snap.' And I'm like, 'I don't know, man. I don't want to die. (Laughs.) No one really dies in these movies. Let somebody else die,'" Grunberg said. "When I shot the first one, I was in the cockpit and they had you read all these lines, such as 'I got your back,' 'Watch your left' and 'I see him.' They're all these positive fight sequence lines. And then, they have you read a list like 'I've been hit!' 'I'm going down!' and 'I can't hold it!' So, I refused to say those lines, and the second unit director called over to J.J. on the first unit to say, 'Greg won't say these lines' J.J. was like, 'Alright, well, if he won't say them, he won't say them.' But, I knew they could always take my X-wing down, no problem. Cut to this movie, he told me during the writing that he was going to kill me, and I said, 'Let's talk about this. Are you ever going to do another Star Wars movie?' And he said, 'Never say never, but this is the last in this story.' So, I said, 'Look, you know best, but I'd rather not die.' A couple months later, he said, 'We're thinking about not killing you,' and I said, 'Okay, again, whatever you think is best.'"
"Then, of course, I got the call saying, 'No, it's happening,'" Grunberg continued. "Even on the set, they would have these big group scenes, and I was always included in those. We were shooting in this park called Black Park, and they called me to set. This was the day that Lin-Manuel Miranda was there as everybody is celebrating after they won. I get on set and J.J. is like, 'Joonas, you go over there, and you two hug.' Then, he looks at me and comes over to me because he doesn't want everyone to know on the set. He's like, 'Dude, you can't be here right now. You're dead.' I was like, 'What!?' That's when it really became real. I knew, obviously; I read the script and had all those talks with J.J.. But, kicking me off the set because I'm not alive is when it really sunk in."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st.