When the fifth episode of Star Wars debuted, Hollywood had no way of knowing the sequel would wind up becoming a gold standard for future filmmakers. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back has become the go-to comparison for any new film trilogy. Franchises like The Lord of the Rings and Alien have been unable to escape the comparison as critics analyze how a trilogy’s second film often takes a dark turn before its final installment drops. Even Star Wars itself has fallen prey to such comparison as Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was brutally compared to its predecessor.
But, when it comes to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson won’t hear any of this nonsense. The director recently took to Twitter to publicly refute accusations that the next Star Wars film will be a direct copy of The Empire Strikes Back.
Taking to social media, Johnson responded to a tweet thread which saw The Last Jedi get dismissed as a copy of The Empire Strikes Back. “Greg is right actually,” the director said in reference to a fan’s tweet. “I’ve spent the last three years just copying Empire.”
The sarcastic tweet is a direct shot to fans who would blindly assume The Last Jedi will be a shot-for-shot recreation of George Lucas’ masterpiece. The accusations are hitting hard recently given the release of The Last Jedi’s trailer. Fans have been comparing its darker aesthetic to that of The Empire Strikes Back, and other netizens believe the eighth film will clone its counterpart like how The Force Awakens did for A New Hope. When J.J. Abrams take on Star Wars premiered back in 2016, fans were quick to point out its similarities to its predecessor.
However, Abrams did not agree with those fans.
In an interview with IGN, the director did acknowledge there was some crossover, but it was done consciously to give fans familiar points of reference.
“[‘The Force Awakens’] was a bridge and a kind of reminder; the audience needed to be reminded what ‘Star Wars’ is, but it needed to be established with something familiar, with a sense of where we are going to new lands, which is very much what 8 and 9 do. The weird thing about that movie is that it had been so long since the last one. Obviously the prequels had existed in between and we wanted to, sort of, reclaim the story. So we very consciously — and I know it is derided for this — we very consciously tried to borrow familiar beats so the rest of the movie could hang on something that we knew was ‘Star Wars.'”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017 release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles.
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