Star Wars: Rian Johnson Talks About Genre Mashups in 'The Last Jedi'

The original Star Wars film was unlike anything else that came before.

Blending elements of science fiction with fantasy and westerns, with an obvious influence from the work of Akira Kurosawa, George Lucas mashed genres and paved the way for a new generation of filmmaking.

Rian Johnson is no stranger to mixing up genres, and with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi we asked if he continued that tradition with some other mashups for the new film in the saga.

"Because Star Wars is so ubiquitous, it's easy to forget that first movie, A New Hope, how weird a genre mashup that was," said Johnson. "The stuff that stuck together — you got Western elements, you got sci-fi elements, you got soap opera, you got fantasy elements — the fact that all of that was stuck together into this big ball and it worked, it's easy to lose sight of how miraculous that is and what a weird genre mashup Star Wars is just in general."

Johnson's first film, Brick, applied the tropes and aesthetics of neo-noir crime thrillers in a high school setting. Brothers Bloom was a con artist/heist movie mixed with romcom sensibilities. And Looper, his last film, combined science fiction tropes with a straight-forward mobster story.

Basically, he's right at home in the Star Wars universe.

"I love it because… it gives you a real free hand to bring in different kind of genre feels," Johnson said. "Like in this film, there's a little bit of the flavor of a To Catch A Thief-like romantic thriller a little bit in there and there's also a war movie in there obviously. Yeah, there's a whole whole mishmash of stuff."


Johnson has previously referenced the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, starring Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar who must clear his name. While attempting to find another thief, he ends up falling for a wealthy woman played by Grace Kelly. A romance plays out against the backdrop of a heist film.

It remains to be seen how this classic film inspired the story of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but it won't be long until we get to see for ourselves when the movie premieres on December 15.