The Last Jedi delivered a long-awaited reunion in its final minutes as twins Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) shared a touching moment, the first screentime the characters would share since 1983's Return of the Jedi.
It's among the most emotional interactions in The Last Jedi: Luke, living for years in self-exile on an unfindable planet, returns to meet with Leia, whose husband and son have become casualties of the dark side.
The children of Anakin Skywalker share what we later come to understand is the last they'll ever be together as Luke steps away to mislead Kylo Ren and the forces of the First Order as Leia's dwindling Resistance escapes. It's a scene, writer-director Rian Johnson recalls, that carries more weight than was anticipated.
"It's bizarre because, you know, obviously we didn't know that it was gonna be a farewell scene," Johnson told The Daily Beast. "And it's odd because I remember when we were shooting the Luke-Leia scene, it felt like church on set. It was usually a jovial set, you know, a really happy, bouncy set. And that day, everyone was just quiet and just watching these two."
"It was like a hush over the whole set. It really did feel like church," Johnson said. "I remember there being a weight to the whole thing and we all just felt like, we're seeing something really special happen. In a way that it never, ever was on the set for us. There was, very weirdly, weight."
Fisher passed away at the age of 60 in December 2016.
The actress, who features in a key sequence where Leia utilizes significant Force abilities, closes out The Last Jedi with words of wisdom and hope passed along to new Jedi and series lead Rey (Daisy Ridley), who asks how they can rebuild a rebellion with the crumbs of a devastated military force.
"We have everything we need," Leia says, the remnants of the Resistance fitting snug within the Millennium Falcon.
"God, I feel lucky, you know? I feel lucky to have this performance from her, I feel lucky we had those moments with her," Johnson said. "I feel so lucky that her last moments in the movie, which are at the very end of the movie, are words of hope given to Rey, given to us. Yeah. God. I wish she was here to see it."
The Last Jedi is dedicated to Fisher.