Star Wars: Rian Johnson Claims 'Force Awakens' Flashback is "Essential" to 'Last Jedi'

The release of The Force Awakens brought with it not only familiar faces, but compelling new characters as well. When crafting the continuation of that story with The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson dissected the J.J. Abrams film and confirms the importance of one sequence that only lasted a few moments.

"I love The Force Awakens, and my job was to continue that story in every sense of the word," Johnson pointed out. "So in that way, [Force Awakens director] J.J. [Abrams] gave me everything I needed, which is the first chapter of a story. I need to tell a second chapter, which is a failure if it doesn't continue organically what the first chapter started."

The last film in the Skywalker saga introduced us to Rey (Daisy Ridley), a woman forced to survive all on her own on the desert planet of Jakku. While exploring Maz Kanata's castle on Takodana, Rey discovers Luke Skywalker's lightsaber and experiences a flashback (or rather, a "Forceback") to the last time someone wielded it, which was on Cloud City.

"So what seems like a blue sky suddenly turns into hacking in the jungle, finding a path that exists. Just like any process of writing, it's more excavation than sculpture," Johnson explained of crafting the narrative. "You're finding it as you go, and you realize it wants to be a certain thing. So yeah, the flashback was essential, but the dynamic between each of the characters was essential. Every single thing in The Force Awakens, I studied forensically."

Much like the audience, Rey was startled and confused by what she was seeing when touching the lightsaber, not only envisioning the confrontation on Cloud City, but also the Knights of Ren.

On the commentary track for The Force Awakens, Abrams explained the scene's significance.

"We wanted [this scene] to be a more personal story. Something that she couldn't comprehend that was overwhelming to her, frightening to her," Abrams shared. "That was taking her through all of these elemental experiences. Of fire. Of rain, snow [and] wind. But also that she was being confronted with truths about The Force, about the past, the Knights of Ren here, the past for herself. She realizes the cries that she heard were actually her own cries as a young girl being taken away from her family. And then she hears a voice. 'Rey.' And that's Obi-wan Kenobi."


Fans are sure to find out exactly how significant this Forceback is to Rey when The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15.

[H/T Rolling Stone]