If you have not see The Last Jedi yet, this post is not for you. Spoilers are all over this! I have been waiting to share my 10 Favorite Star Wars The Last Jedi Scenes since I first saw the movie. Also, I wanted to say, for all to see, that I LIKE the fact The Last Jedi took everything I thought it was going to do and went left.
I was wrong about Rey, and I’m okay with that. Kylo did something I was not expecting him to do, well at least this soon in the franchise. And with all the decisions and sacrifices that were made, it is going to be exciting to see what happens in the future. We are in uncharted space folks, and I like it.
BB-8 and BB-9E
I love the droids in Star Wars, well maybe not you C-3PO. I can’t with your anxiety. BB-8 is like your dog. He wants to help, he’s protective, and you ask about him first him first when your friends make it back to base alive. BB-9E on the other hand is your cynical cat who has no time for your crap. He’s not here for your games, no you aren’t getting away with anything, but you still love him too. Or at least I do. I’m happy to see the Dark Side get a fun droid. Their droids always seem so dumb or generic. Roger, roger.
Speaking of Droids, the OG droid is back and as independent and mouthy as ever. Can you be mouthy without a mouth? I’m not sure, but what I do know is his reunion with Luke made me happy.
Porgs, Fathiers, and Vulptex
Meet the Porgs, Fathiers, and Vulptex. They are fun, endearing, and so darn cute. For those scratching their heads, the Fathiers are the creatures Rose and Finn ride on and the Vulptex are the ice foxes on Crait. If anyone sees a Vulptex plush I need it. Not asking for friend, it’s definitely for me.
I was camp confused at first too. Why would they do this? Cut him out (pun intended) so soon? Then after I thought about it I thought about this: Striking down Snoke, Kylo/Ben cut the strings that bound him to anyone. He really did kill his past, not just his distant past but his recent as well. He did the thing Vader couldn’t. With no one more powerful than him, with the exception of Rey, to keep him in check, Kylo’s future is wide open. I can’t wait to see what he does with this ultimate power and how The Resistance deals with the aftermath. I have a feeling more epic lightsaber battles are coming.
Rey and Kylo
Nope, not talking about shipping them. In fact I don’t ship it. *Shrugs* I’m talking them standing back to back and taking out the Praetorian guards. Each time I watched this movie, people cheered. It was an awesome, hell yes moment in the movie. Lets give some respect for those guards though, who unlike the Emperor’s Imperial Guards, actually did something. Their weapons are pretty sick too. I wonder if there were anymore in another room or if it was just this one team?
Because Poe. *heart eye emoji*
Luke training Rey, sorta
Luke promised Rey 3 lessons. He only gave 2. Is the last one learning to press on without him there? Or will Force Luke show up in Episode IX to school her in lesson 3?
“I feel the force.” Smack. Pretty sure Daisy Ridley was channeling me. Because if I ever got the chance to train with Luke, that’s probably how nerdy excited I would be too.
I’ll admit, the first time watching The Last Jedi was stressful. I was worried about Leia. When she started floating through space I sat there, jaw dropped. No, this couldn’t be what they would do with her. And then her fingers twitches and she used THE FORCE to pull herself back to the ship. In case you missed all the clues in the previous films, Leia has The Force too. She just doesn’t do all the tricks, that we expect to see with Force sensitive people. Kudos to Rian for showing Leia using The Force and all the other scenes where she is being her bad*ss self.
Luke taking on The First Order, like a Boss.
If you didn’t laugh-out-loud and/or cheer when Luke brushed his shoulder off we can’t be friends. Earlier in the movie he admonishes Rey for thinking he could make a difference in the fight against The First Order and Kylo Ren. He says something along the lines of, what do you think I’m going to do, walk out there with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order?
Foreshadowing chills because that’s exactly what he does. I noticed during the first viewing that his feet didn’t seem to make a difference in the Crait soil. I thought hmm that’s suspect. Then when I realized it was because he had Force projected himself into the scene, I lost it. How freaking cool was that?! It also showed just how strong in The Force he is. Everyone, with the exception of Leia I’m almost 100% sure, thought he was really there. This trick made Snoke’s Force FaceTime look like padawan play.
This wasn’t CGI Yoda, this was our good old puppet friend, and wise teacher, Master Yoda. It was great to see him interacting with Luke, putting him in his place about everything. He brought some snark and schooled us on the greatest lesson of all – “the greatest teacher, failure is.” Mic drop, Yoda.
Dig deeper into The Last Jedi:
Star Wars The Last Jedi is in theaters everywhere!
Find the Force online #TheLastJedi
What I loved about our interview with Rose Tico Kelly Marie Tran was how sweet and honest she was with us about her experience with this movie. Her positive attitude of keep working towards your goals even when no one else believes in you, really inspired me. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of what we want to do when those around us and life in general tell us our dreams will never happen.
Kelly was so sweet and we made her cry. But to be fair her crying made us cry, or at least me! I’m excited for you all to meet Rose and see the courage and determination of her character in The Last Jedi.
On how she got involved with Star Wars:
The first audition I had was back in 2015. And at this point I had been pursuing acting for about seven years.
So that first audition came in, and I remember thinking, this is crazy. There’s no way I’m gonna get this. And so that feeling kind of traveled with me from the beginning to the very end. And it served me, because I was so sure in my mind and in my heart, that I wasn’t going to get it, that I was free to be present and have fun.
There was none of this, like, oh my god, I’m gonna get this. There was none of that. It was, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna get this. I’m just gonna have fun with the people who are here. It was a five-month audition process. And it included a surprise chemistry with John Bodega. (Laughs)
After the whole audition process and trying to land a role for so long, what was it like finding out you got the part?
So I was still working my day job. (Laughs) I was working at an office (as) an assistant and I got this email from my agent saying that Rian wanted to meet with me before the Thanksgiving break. It was like either he’s gonna be like “you have it”, or it’s gonna be “look, nice try kid.” (Laughs) I was so nervous going to that meeting, and I remember sitting in the waiting room, picking up the book that was on the table, and (thinking) I’m going to casually read this book. I’m so casual. (Laughter) Then Rian got there, and he was like ‘Kelly, come on up.’ We go into this room and at first there’s a little small talk. Then he says, I want to offer you this role.
And I had imagined this moment.
I’m gonna cry right now. (Tears up) I had imagined this moment for so long. I thought that I would be so ecstatic, and I’d be jumping up and down. When it happened, I was so scared. I just was silent for a full minute, staring at the floor. I was treading water for so long, I never thought I would get to the end of the pond. Or the lake. Whatever it’s called, I don’t know, I made that up just now. (Laughter)
I never thought that I would actually get there. So I never thought ‘this is what I’m gonna do when I get there.
There were definitely moments of just being so horrified. When I finally got to set it felt like home. It felt like I was in someone’s backyard making a small movie with my friends, which says a lot more about everyone else involved than about me. Everyone was so welcoming, and open. I don’t know that as an actor you could have a more fulfilling experience than that. Just the ability to collaborate, and really work with people.
When we took our group picture, it was Kelly’s idea to have a crying pose since she and a lot of us in the room, teared up during this part of the interview.
Star Wars has meant so much to so many people over the years. What was Star Wars to you as a child?
Star Wars is such a family oriented thing. So a lot of parents had seen the original movies and passed (them) on to their kids. My parents, when the first movies came out, were still in a different country. My parents are both Vietnamese refugees. They aren’t from this world at all. They don’t work in entertainment. So growing up I didn’t watch Star Wars. I was aware of it. I never really saw it. And I think that that gave me this kind of wonderful freedom. When I was auditioning for this movie I never thought to myself “How can I make this more like something I had seen? How can I make this more like the characters that are so iconic to all these people?” I had this gift of being able to look at that paper, and just be what I thought was honest and what I thought Rian had written onto that paper.
Obviously after you get it, you watch all these movies, and there’s nothing but just amazement, especially those original films. You watch them now and they’re still incredible, and how innovative they were during the time, and the idea that they were so groundbreaking when they first came out.
So the character of Rose has done so much for diversity in film and changing our perspective of Star Wars. What are you hoping that Rose’s character accomplishes once we actually see her in action, for yourself and for future Star Wars generations, who now have a strong female Asian role model to look up to?
I thought about that a lot. And it feels like such an honor, but also a lot of pressure. I knew what it was like to grow up in a world where I never saw myself in anything. I would like to hope that in some way, this character is such an example of someone who doesn’t necessarily belong in this world. She works in maintenance. She works behind pipes all day. She’s not a star pilot. She doesn’t have magical powers. She’s not a princess. She’s someone who is just in every woman, essentially.
And these people… you don’t necessarily see in these stories, but that are so crucial to the idea of the resistance. Without these people that are fixing the ships, Poe couldn’t go fight the First Order! So of course, they’re important. But no one ever really sees them, or talks about them. They’re always just running around in the background. If this character could mean anything, I really hope that she portrays the idea that even if you are someone who’s kind of in the background, who’s not in the spotlight, who’s not a princess, you can still make a difference. You can still rise up to any challenge that comes to you.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to see my face on action figures and packaging for a movie!
Ooo! (Laughs) It’s bizarre. It’s really insane. I don’t know that I understand it at all. I feel like whenever I see something with my face on it, I’m just…that’s not me. It’s like a very out of body experience. And because this movie hasn’t come out yet, and because I think I’m just very normal looking, and I dress very normal in everyday life, I’ve never been recognized outside of being in association with the cast.
But other than that, everything in my life is really normal. Like, I run outside, and I go to the grocery store, and no one’s ever recognized me. So having merchandise and things like that, it doesn’t register with me still. I don’t know that it ever will. I’ll have to let you know. (Laughter)
What color would Rose’s lightsaber be if she had one?
Orange. It is my favorite color.
It has to be hard putting yourself out there for everyone in the world to see. What have you done to prepare yourself for that?
When I finished that movie, I ran away. For seven months I went to travel by myself. And I went to have this kind of eat, pray, love moment. I really wanted to center myself, and really think about why I got into this in the first place.
I tend to overanalyze everything, but I do think it’s important to consider what you put out in there into the world. There’s so much noise now. There’s so much of ‘look at me! Look at me!’ And I didn’t want to be part of that noise if that’s possible. I just remember thinking how scared I was. I wasn’t on social media for a very long time. It’s because I was scared of being seen, and being honest in that way. I think that Carrie was such a great example of that, of just being seen openly, honestly, unapologetically, and not being ashamed of who she was.
I think that I want to try as much as I can to be that way. We live in a world where we tend to hide a lot of our flaws, and we try to put on makeup and dresses, and all these things. If we all just were okay and open with all of our insecurities, ’cause we all have them, and we’re all not perfect, then maybe the world will be better. So I’m trying to do that, and I’ll let you know how it goes! (Laughter)
On how the role of Rose Tico has changed her:
I think that I don’t know how to date anymore. (Laughs) I mean, I had trouble dating before, but now I’m just kind of, if you’re talking about personal life, I’ve never in my life had to think to myself, what would it be like if I had to question every person that wanted to date me in the future? This sounds like such an actor problem. (Laughter)
I think that she’s amazing, she’s different. I think that a lot of the things that she goes through in this movie, I relate to on a personal level. And I think that I always knew what I wanted. I always believed that if you work hard and you’re a good person, you will get where you want to go. I always believed that. But experiencing it is a whole different thing. And I think if you’re talking to me, personally, spiritually, it’s really changed the way I look at the world. I really want people to know that if your parents are not in this world, if you have no connection to it, if it seems impossible, if you’re working four jobs to support it, you can’t pay off your student loan bill, if you’re worried about all that stuff and you still want to do this, and if you keep going, and you put your head down, you just ignore the parties, and ignore all the people that don’t believe in you, I just think it’s possible, and I always have. I believe that even more so. But yeah, I also don’t know how to date. (Laughter)
Rose is a behind-the-scenes kind of girl. Do you think she ever gets envious of not being out front in the action?
So she has an older sister named Paige, who is in the forefront of the action. She’s a gunner, and she finds alongside Poe, who’s the hotshot pilot in the Resistance. There was probably always a part of her that secretly wanted to be part of that. But I also think she’s really good at what she does.
We live in this world where everyone wants whatever’s flashy. Everyone wants to be in the front. Everybody wants this, this, and that. I think Rose is one of those people that really does understand that those people who are out there on the forefront of the action cannot be there without everyone else behind them, right? You’d be fighting the First Order and your ship would just fall apart.
I think this is a metaphor for real life. You think I look like this in real life? (Laughs) No way! (Laughter) There are four to five, six to seven… There are a lot of people that get me looking like this. (Laughter) I’m new to this movie world. A lot of times actors get so much credit for something that so many other people are working on. The way I look, this movie. All the people that created the sets, and the creatures, and the stunt team teaching us how to fight! Everyone who’s kind of out there in the forefront in this shiny place that everyone gets to see. There are hundreds of people behind them that put them there. So I love that Rose is kind of this metaphor for that, and I think she understands that.
Join Rose Tico in fighting The First Order today! Star Wars The Last Jedi is now in theaters everywhere!!
Find the Force online #TheLastJedi
I was invited by Disney to share my experience of The Last Jedi with my readers. All opinions are my own. Interview photos courtesy of Louise of MomStart.com
The interview with General Hux Domhnall Gleeson was so fun! He is hysterical and not at all as terrifying as Hux. He shares what it’s like being a part of two big movie franchises, his favorite lightsaber color, why General Hux is so angry, and more!
Domhnall revealed during The Last Jedi Q&A that he had not seen the film yet. A little birdie tried to say otherwise. Well, it turns out you can’t always trust little birds.
That little birdy was a flippin’ liar. (Laughter) I decided I would rather see it with like two thousand people who don’t know what’s going to happen.
Just the feeling in the room. Cause at the Force Awakens, that premier was insane. I was there with my dad and my friend Lawrence. Like what the hell is going on. Whoops and cheering and big gasps and everything. I didn’t want to miss out on that being my first experience with the film, so I’m waiting till whatever day it is next week.
The night before the interviews, we all got a chance to ride Star Tours, which now includes new scenes and faces from the Star Wars films including General Hux. That means Domhnall is now featured in two major theme parks- Disney (World and Land) and Universal. I can’t imagine what that feels like.
It’s cool. Like, being part of two different rides that, literally millions of people will go on is kind of ridiculous. But, in a way it’s no different than the films. So many people are going to see Star Wars that, yeah, it’s a bit nuts. The whole thing is a little bit nuts. It’s good though, I think.
Not only did Domhnall answer the question about having a lightsaber in real life, he revealed he actually has 2!
I do have a lightsaber in real life, but it’s just one of the plastic ones, (Laughter) and it’s red. When I went to one of the premier things last time round, Harrison Ford was there and they were giving out these plastic ones to the fans, and I picked a green one ‘cause I’m Irish. And then, we were at the thing and just Harrison Ford’s like the coolest man in the world. So I was talking to my agent and I was kind of waving the thing around, and I saw Harrison Ford was looking over at me, and I was like, oh! (Imitates putting down the lightsaber) (Laughter)
I got my photo with him. That was super cool. So I’ve got a red one and a green one. So, you know what I mean; mix and match, (Laughter), depending on my mood.
So is Han Solo your favorite Star Wars character?
Can you say that? Eh, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that. See, when I was a kid, I was an Indiana Jones kid. More than Star Wars even. My childhood was Harrison Ford in a different movie. I’d never seen the original trilogy, any of them in the cinema. I just missed it. And then my big experience was when I was deciding whether I could be in the Force Awakens, JJ gave me a file of the original Star Wars, and I watched it on a big screen. (Wow)
That was amazing. And then they all became my favorites. How diplomatic is that? (Laughter) They’re all my favorites. Yeah, but I do love Han Solo.
On having Star Wars film in his home country of Ireland:
I love it. And I love that the people who went there had an amazing time. I love that they got good weather. I love that they were all the way up and down the west coast. Ireland is my home. I think it’s the best place in the world, and I’m just happy for people to see it. It’s an intensely beautiful place, and they got to see it in intensely beautiful weather, which is ridiculous. That never happens, (Laughter).
So when they came back and they were all talking about what a good time they had in Ireland, even though I had nothing to do with that, I have to say I was pretty, pretty proud.
Is General Hux inspired by any past villains in the Star Wars franchise?
You can’t steal, right, but like obviously his place in things at the beginning of the film is like Peter Cushing’s kind of role. In terms of just the scheme of the way the villains are set up. He would be kind of fulfilling that role a little bit. But then you have to go to the real world to find you influences. ‘Cause you can’t take you character notes from other characters. I think you want to base it on something that’s real.
And also just about how he’s got to fit into the story. That was a real process with JJ, understanding the most interesting version of Hux, and the most interesting version of Hux, it turns out, was the one that’s actually very dysfunctional with Kylo Ren and kind of battling for their place in things. And for favor from Snoke.
Is there anything he can share about General Hux’s character arc in The Last Jedi?
No. (Laughter) The character arc in the first film, he goes from a very good place to a very bad place in terms of his standing in things. I think it’s pretty obvious, he wants his place on the throne. He wants to be in charge of Kylo Ren, whenever Snoke goes, that’s what Hux wants. But he’s in a much worse place at the end of the first movie than he was at the beginning in terms of achieving that goal.
And that’s where we basically start the second movie. You’re just starting the character in a much more desperate place, much more uncomfortable place, and I think that’s a good place to put somebody like Hux. Taking a step back from him and thinking objectively, you want Hux to suffer. That is what you want for somebody like that, who behaves like that, and who carries himself like that. So we start with a place where we’re ready to see him suffer.
On Hux’s emotions and what drives the character:
I think, even less than, or more than rage, I think there’s a desperation about him, which is very unbecoming. There’s a need at all times to make sure that everybody knows that he’s important; that they should do what he says, that he deserves his position in things. But he knows that he’s not as powerful as Ren. If it came to a fist fight, he’s dead within ten seconds. And Ren wouldn’t even have to use his fist, he’d just like force choke him or whatever. (Laughs)
Just put yourself in a desperate place, and then say, right I’m getting rid of that, and now I’m pretending that I’m powerful, even though something in there is worried that you’re not.
What was the geek out moment for you, where you thought oh my gosh I’m in this?
Oh my gosh? That’s so polite, (Laughter). I use different words. (Laughter) There are lots of moments like that. Because the scale of things. Because of how much Star Wars means to people. Because just the history of it. Harry Potter was a huge journey, and those films were over twelve year, ten years, you know what I mean? This has been going on since forever.
Without giving anything away of who I worked with on this or didn’t work with, when you’re on set, other people have to come on set to show Ryan a costume in person, or to talk to him about something.
So the days when you don’t know somebody’s gonna be in, and you’re talking to Ryan about something and then Mark Hamill just strolls up in his Luke Skywalker gear, you’re like what the f- (Laughter). You’re like, oh my gosh… (Laughter). Those moments, when you’re not expecting them, and he’s there on a Star Wars set and you’re like, what are you doing in the evil place? Why are you hanging out here, and it’s like, oh he’s just here to see Ryan. Those things are kind of amazing. Those moments are where you pinch yourself.
How difficult is it to be careful what you say about the film?
It’s weird, right. This also another reason it was good for me not to watch the movie, because I would definitely have spoiled it for all of you already. (Laughter) My mother has form in this regard. She is the worst person to give away the endings of movies, so I try and make sure I don’t put myself in that position. It’s odd. It’s really easy to say nothing. It’s really difficult to say a little but not too much.
No, there is an understanding, we know we can say nothing, (Laughter). And then some of us are a little bit more blasé with that then others. Oscar just roles with it, and I’m like, I wish I could do that, but I’m just worried I would give away the whole ending.
You have played on the good side of things in Harry Potter and now are playing a very convincing dark character. Which do you tend to side with more?
(Laughs) We all have our dark moments, you know, everybody has those, and those moments when you remind yourself that you should be a better person than what your instinct to do is, that there are other people. Hopefully I’m not that bad about remembering that the good of the people is more important than the good of your own thing, which obviously these days is getting trampled all over the place. Hopefully I’m not to e- (evil) I’ve never killed anyone, (Laughter). Yeah, you just start there and work backwards. (Laughs)
On how Star Wars reflects the times we are living in:
This will sound like I’m hedging my bet right, but most pieces of great art reflect something about the times you live in, no matter when you live. I think that there’s never a lack of bad intention in the world.
People only out for their own interest and the interest of the few. That’s been around forever and will always be around. That’s not gonna disappear. What the brilliance of Star Wars is that when you watch it you can be entertained by the dark side, whereas in real life, that isn’t entertaining, that’s terrifying.
What’s next for Domhnall?
I have this movie in Sundance called A Futile Stupid Gesture, which is about the setting up of National Lampoon, which is a very different film to Star Wars, (Laughter). Then there’s Peter Rabbit, but I’m playing, like, Mr. McGregor, (and) I’m kind of the enemy again. I’ll go back to Dublin and chill out and just try to be around my family for Christmas. That doesn’t sound like the dark side, right? (Laughter)
Watch Domhnall Gleeson as the intense General Hux in Star Wars The Last Jedi, in theaters tomorrow December 15th 2017!
Find the Force online #TheLastJedi
I was invited by Disney to share my experience of The Last Jedi with my readers. All opinions are my own. Interview photos courtesy of Louise of MomStart.com
Nothing less than an escort of Praetorian Guards could start the Star Wars The Last Jedi Press Junket Q&A! I’m just not sure if they were there to keep us, the press, in line, or to keep the cast from telling us anything that might resemble a spoiler. Hmm. Either way, this kind of moment is something that every Star Wars fan dreams of, sitting in the room with the entire main cast on stage. The only thing missing of course was Carrie Fisher, but as they pointed out she was there in spirit, giving the finger from the back of the room.
The Last Jedi is a sequel to The Force Awakens but also the 7th in a series of films. The cast shares what they think differentiates The Last Jedi from The Force Awakens and also The Empire Strikes Back as a second film in a trilogy.
Rian Johnson: It’s a second movie in the trilogy and I think we’ve been kind of trained to expect it’ll be a little darker and obviously it looks a little darker. I loved the tone of the original films and also The Force Awakens of fun. First and foremost we were trying to make it feel like a Star Wars movie. And that means you have the intensity and you’ve got the opera, but it also means that it makes you come out of the theater wanting to run in your backyard, grab your spaceship toys, and make them fly around. So we’re going to go to some intense places in the movie but I hope also it’s fun, it’s funny.
Mark Hamill: My answer will be in direct proportion to the amount of screen time I have. (Laughter)
John Boyega: I just think the story’s moving forward, challenging the characters. It’s a time which everyone has their own specific reckoning, and it’s all different.
Oscar Issac: The first one kind of sets the tone and the world and the new characters, in the second one you don’t have to spend so much time doing that, you can really just delve into the story, into what’s happening. I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s challenged deeply every single character, including the droids, (Laughs) with the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, and that’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them.
Daisy Ridley: (Laughs)
Adam Driver: I agree with her, yeah. (Laughter)
Andy Serkis: I mean, I was blown away when I saw the movie. I just was so caught up with it, not least because it was really intimate and very emotional and I wasn’t expecting that at all. It was very, very powerful and it touches you and what Rian’s done incredibly is make this tonally dance between these great kind of epic moments and hilarious antics, literally flipping on a dime and then going right into the heart of these beautiful characters.
Gwendoline Christie: Star Wars has always been our foundation story of good against evil, and where that balance is, and how we see elements of characters we’ve never seen before, things that can be unexpected. But there is something about this film and I think it’s because the world that we live in is a changing and evolving place, that it retains the simplicity of those elements, but it really resonates with what it is to follow your own human, dark, narcissistic tendencies, where that will take you, and I love that.
Domhnall Gleeson: I didn’t go to the screening so (Laughter) I wanted to wait and see it the way I saw The Force Awakens which was just with a load of people losing their minds. But then I heard these guys lost their minds, so I was kind of annoyed I didn’t go.
Rian Johnson on being the newcomer and is there a little bit of himself in Vice Admiral Holdo:
Rian Johnson: I’m like the new boyfriend at Thanksgiving dinner. (Laughter)
Laura Dern could represent any part of me in life, I would be thrilled. (Laughs) It’s a dream just to get to work with her (Laura Dern). And the character that she plays in all of its glorious purple-haired wonder, we were really able to dig in and do some really exciting, fun stuff. Laura, I know that like the moments on set where like suddenly you would like catch my eye and you would say, this feels like we’re making an independent film. Those were the moments that I was like, yeah, it kind of does. If Laura Dern’s telling you that, then you may be on the right track.
Is there any part of you that geeks out when you start working on a Star Wars film?
Laura Dern: Every part.
Kelly Marie Tran: Every part. I’m trying not to cry right now ‘cause this is so weird and different. You have to find a way to just do the work and kind of block everything out, but then C-3PO comes up and you’re like oh! (Laughs) So you’re constantly figuring out how to work but also this is awesome!
Laura Dern: Oscar and I always talked about just how stunned we were that we were in such a massive environment and it did feel like we were making an indie movie and you were always encouraging us to try things and explore character, and explore this duality of the light and the dark within characters. And a group of us sitting together watching it for the first time was amazing ‘cause it was like we were with 3,000 people. We were screaming, standing up, crying!
The relationship between Hux and Kylo Ren is really interesting, and it seems to be expanded on in this movie where Snoke sort of plays them against each other. They’re allies but not really. What is going on with them as we enter this film?
Adam Driver: I think it’s definitely there’s a competition and it’s maybe yet to be discovered where that comes from. I love playing those scenes, especially with Domhnall, ‘cause he’s a great actor. There’s nothing kind of taken for granted where, you know, oh, this happens and it moves on. If anything, Rian slows the pace and there’s not a moment that’s taken for granted. It’s always broken up into little pieces and the story in our mind comes first before an explosion.
Would you say they are more like rival coworkers or brothers?
Domhnall Gleeson: I think it’s funny, you know, there’s just such a huge amount of drama going on in that group of people (and) just a huge amount of b*tchy infighting as well. (Laughter) It’s really fun to see them kind of really hurt each other from the inside as well as from the outside. The united front thing is difficult for them sometimes.
My favorite humorous answers from the press junket all came from Mark Hamill. He was not going to give up anything, not even a little bit. When asked about training Rey:
Mark Hamill: Well, you’re assuming that I train Rey.
Daisy Ridley: Exactly.
Mark Hamill: People say, was it difficult to pick up and wield a light saber again? And I go, do I pick up a light saber? (Laughter) I can promise you my part is twice as big as it was in The Force Awakens.
And when everyone kept trying to get them to reveal how The Last Jedi was going to be different from The Force Awakens:
Mark Hamill: It’s longer. (Laughter)
Rian Johnson shared what about The Empire Strikes Back spoke to him as he filmed The Last Jedi.
Rian Johnson: I think the cinematography in Empire is the most gorgeous of the whole series. Steve and I looked at the lighting, it’s pretty daring in terms of how dark they were willing to go with some of it – literally dark, and how gorgeous they went with some of the choices they made with the shaping of the lighting. In terms of like an actual visual aesthetic I made a choice very early on- I can either try and kind of copy my idea of what the original movies did, which was much more formal, the camera didn’t move a ton, or we’re going to take visual cues lighting wise and design wise from the previous movies, but I need to just shoot this movie the way that I would shoot a movie.
The Last Jedi features a lot of strong female characters. That is going to mean some to the little girls in the audience. I know it already inspires my daughter. Daisy, Kelly, Laura, and Gwendoline share what that means to them:
Daisy Ridley: The response was so beyond anything I could have imagined. Obviously that’s a testament to Kathy, J.J., Michael, Larry, everyone who created the characters in the beginning. I think what’s great about everyone is it’s not like she’s a girl, this is a guy, this is anything, it’s just great characters that happily are falling into broader categories now, so I’m thrilled.
Kelly Marie Tran: I think that it feels like both an honor and a responsibility at the same time. I feel like from the beginning when I initially found out I got this role, I just felt like I wanted to do the whole thing justice, and I’m so excited that the girls in this movie kick some butt! (Laughs)
Laura Dern: I was moved by the fact that he (Rian) really wanted her strength to first lead with a very deep femininity. To see a powerful female character also be feminine is something that moves away from a stereotype that’s sometimes perceived in strong female characters must be like the boys.
Gwendoline Christie: I wasn’t cast in the first Star Wars film yet when I heard about the casting, and I was utterly delighted to see that there was a more representative selection of actors that were going to be in these incredible Star Wars films. Everything that my amazing colleagues say is absolutely right. You get to see women that are not being strong just because they’re acting like men. I’m delighted that something as legendary as Star Wars has decided to be modern and to reflect our society more as it is.
Oscar Issac: As a guy I’d like to say that for me the most formative people in my life have been women. And so that has shaped my destiny so much and so to see that reflected in the film is really, really a beautiful thing. It is more true to real life and what’s happening now, but what’s always happened which is, you know, they’re the ones, that shape you.
Will we walk away from The Last Jedi having learned something?
Adam Driver: I think that’s a personal kind of thing, for some it will be nothing (Laughter). I’ve heard this said, and it’s the best way that I understand how seeing a movie in a dark room with people who are total strangers kind of works. No one lives the theater, everyone has lives outside. Well hopefully. (Laughter) There’s a kind of collective intelligence that happens in the room and what is rewarding about it is realizing that you all are having a different experience but at the same time the same experience. Whatever is happening in the movie, speaks to you in a different way than anybody else so it’s hard thing to kind of blanketly say, I think you’ll feel this, because again, we’re not you.
Rian Johnson: It’s about the transition from childhood into adulthood, and finding your place in the world, and you have these new powers that you’re feeling inside yourself for the first time, you don’t know what to do with them, you don’t know who it is you’re going to get help from, who’s going to be unreliable, who’s not. Navigating those very tricky waters that we all have to navigate, that’s why it’s so universal. So part of that is, you know, your relationship to heroes and people you thought were your heroes, people you don’t expect to become your heroes.
When you are a fan of the franchise, is there ever a mentality shift from fan to ownership- this is my film?
Rian Johnson: Oh, I keep waiting for that moment to happen. (Laughter) Even standing up here, I see the big Star Wars behind me and I’m like, well, do I belong under this? You’re always riding that line between feeling like you’re a fan who snuck in the back gate and is getting away with something, which I think is probably a good thing. I’d be curious to hear John, just because you’re the biggest fan I know in the world.
John Boyega: I’m still trying to get over it. I can’t lie. Every day was a new set. The practical effects I think like doubled in this movie, the sets were bigger and it’s always exciting and amazing. But as everybody has said, you still feel an intimacy when you’re doing these scenes, you know, an independent with a big budget.
Laura Dern: I love, Oscar, how you described yesterday all of us watching the roll at the top as the lights went down, and even though all of us feel giddy that we’re excited about being part of this, suddenly you’re an obsessed fan, regardless.
On the impact of Han Solo’s death on the characters and the story moving forward:
John Boyega: I think we’re just keeping it moving, to be honest with you, man. (Laughter) It’s true, the pressure’s on man. I think that’s the one thing that’s unique to me about watching this movie was just the commentary on war. I think there hasn’t been a Star Wars movie yet that has explored war in the way The Last Jedi does. It’s very messy, the categorizing of good and evil is all mixed together. In terms of Han, I’m sure we all feel sentimental if someone was to sit Finn down or sit Rey down, but Rey’s off training, she’s got stuff to do. I’ve got back injury, I’ve got stuff to do. I can’t think about Han at the moment. (Laughter)
Oscar Issac: It’s a dire situation, it’s critical. The resistance is on its last legs, they’re trying to survive. First Order’s right on top of us. It is like war, where you gotta just keep moving to try to survive. You feel the momentum of everything that happened in The Force Awakens just pushing and getting to a critical mass in this film.
Daisy Ridley: I will interject there, and I think this is the beauty of having storylines that are sort of happening in tandem and affecting each other, ‘cause I would say that Rey at least is very much affected by it. Rey, as a character has been alone for a really long time and she’s really open to love and friendship, so Finn and BB-8 come along and it’s like this amazing adventure. She seeks something from (Han) and that gets snatched away. Everything’s moving forward but she has some time to ask questions and wonder what it is that would have led someone to do something like that, and also how that directly affects the world around her. I would say she’s maybe a little more affected, at least emotionally on screen, than the others.
Then we came to my favorite moment of the press conference, where the cast shared about the impact of Carrie Fisher on themselves as well as the generations who have grown up with Princess Leia.
Gwendoline Christie: Well, she was very significant because I was first shown A New Hope when I was six, and I remember thinking, wow, that character’s really different. She’s really interesting, she’s really smart, she’s really funny, she’s courageous, she’s bold, she doesn’t care what people think, and she isn’t prepared to be told what to do. And she doesn’t look the same as a sort of homogenized presentation of a woman that we had been used to seeing. So that was really instrumental to me as someone that didn’t feel like they fitted that homogenized view of what a woman was supposed to be, that you could be an individual and celebrate yourself and be successful without giving yourself over, without necessarily making some sort of terrible, huge compromise. I was very excited when I was shown just the basic element of the costume (for Phasma), and here we were seeing a character where her femininity was not delineated in terms of the shape of her body, in terms of her physical attractiveness. Those elements, that weird random group of elements which we’re born with in some kind of odd lottery and then we’re judged on in society. And I was just delighted to be able to have that opportunity.
Laura Dern: We always had with Carrie, not just Leia, her wisdom, and you know, people speak about people who are brave or fearless, but beyond that, I’ve known luckily a few people that would hold those descriptions, but not that they would be without shame. That’s what moved me the most about the icon she gave us, but also what she gave us individually and personally which is to Carrie, who she was so directly and to be without shame, and to share her story, and to expect nothing less from any of us.
Daisy Ridley: I don’t think I can really follow that, except to just say Carrie’s daughter Billie is I think all of those qualities. She’s smart and funny and shameless and wonderful.
Kelly Marie Tran: I think that something about Carrie that I really look up to is, and something I didn’t realize until recently, was just how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform or when possibly a lot of people will be looking at you. She was so unapologetic and so openly herself and that is something that I am really trying to do, and it’s hard. What an example, you know? And I am so fortunate to have met her and I think that she will really live on forever.
For more Star Wars The Last Jedi:
Star Wars The Last Jedi is in theaters December 15th 2017!
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I was invited by Disney to share my experience of The Last Jedi with my readers. All opinions are my own.