The conclusion to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” almost looked a little different. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson revealed that he requested one small change from “The Force Awakens'” J.J. Abrams, and he got it.
“The big [favor] was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance,” Johnson said. “Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, ‘Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?’”
Johnson — who began working on “The Last Jedi” as “The Force Awakens” was in development — didn’t elaborate on why he requested this change and what impact it will have on “The Last Jedi,” but the trailer for the upcoming film offered some clues. In the trailer, BB-8 is right in the middle of the action with the Resistance, speeding away from an exploding X-wing with his favorite human Poe Dameron.
Of course, R2-D2’s journey to find Luke Skywalker at the end of “The Force Awakens” makes thematic sense. R2-D2 spent most of “The Force Awakens” in stasis; what’s more, he had been this way since Luke left to find the Last Jedi Temple and never returned. However, he sprung back to life just as the Starkiller Base was destroyed and provided a key answer in General Leia’s search for her brother.
Additionally, R2-D2 had an important role to play in the fall of the Jedi. He was present when the Knights of Ren destroyed Luke’s school, per Rey’s flashback, and appears to have been sent away by Luke. It is unclear what R2-D2’s role in Luke’s life was like after “Return of the Jedi,” but we may soon find out thanks to the fact that R2-D2 accompanied Rey when she tracked Luke down.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” features returning cast members Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3P0, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, joined by franchise newcomers Kelly Marie Tran as Rose and Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern in undisclosed roles. The film arrives December 15.