Star Wars Director Rian Johnson Reveals Last Jedi's Diverse Influences

Star Wars, Episode VIII

With "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" already in theaters, attention can now turn towards this year's star wars movie: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." As the next installment in the franchise's saga, "The Last Jedi" will pick up where 2015's "The Force Awakens" left off and continue the story of Rey, Luke Skywalker and the rest of the cast.

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While discussing the film with Empire online, "Last Jedi" writer/director Rian Johnson name-dropped the three films that most influenced his work on "Episode VIII."

"'Twelve O’Clock High' was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots," said Johnson. "'Three Outlaw Samurai' for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun. And 'To Catch A Thief' was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur."

Johnson's inspiration -- all films from the 1940s to the 1960s -- are seemingly in line with what influenced George Lucas when he made the first "Star Wars" film. Lucas has said that the work of Akira Kurosawa, specifically 1958's "The Hidden Fortress," greatly inspired "Star Wars." "Twelve O'Clock High is a war film from 1949, "Three Outlaw Samurai" is a 1964 Japanese sword-fighting film, and "To Catch a Thief" is an Alfred Hitchcock thriller from 1955.

Johnson also spoke about the way the film came together. "I guess the biggest surprise was the intimacy of the process. It’s huge, sure, and it’s filled with pressures great and small. But at the end of the day, it boils down to the same things as the smaller films we’ve made: telling a story we care about with a camera and some actors. And a Wookiee."

The most intimate day of shooting may have been the very first one, which took place on the same remote island that was seen in the closing shot of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." "Our first day of shooting was actually several months before principal photography began: we had three days on Skellig Michael island. So not only was it day one of Star Wars on this incredible natural location, but because the island was so inaccessible it was a very stripped-down, run-and-gun crew. Pretty much the perfect start to the whole adventure."

The second film in the new “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Last Jedi” is written and directed by Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “Looper”). Opening Dec. 15, the film stars returning actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which premiered in December 2015, grossed $2.068 billion worldwide. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the franchise’s first stand-alone film, just surpassed $1 billion at the global box office.

(via Coming Soon)

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