There is no bigger undertaking in Hollywood today than taking on a part of the Star Wars saga. Rian Johnson certainly knew what he was getting himself into when he took the job, but that doesn't mean he was prepared for everything that came along. The director admits that there was one thing that surprised him filming The Last Jedi. That even though the film was a massive undertaking, it was also an intimate experience.
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.
It would be easy for the sheer scope of Star Wars to be overwhelming. However, Rian Johnson tells Empire Magazine that part of the reason he was able to keep everything in perspective is that when it comes down to doing each part of the job, it's not that much different from when he's making a much smaller movie. Set the scene, get the shot, move on to the next one. It's a great way to keep perspective and not get lost in the entire experience of making Star Wars.
Of course, at the end of the day what makes Star Wars so big isn't any part of the actual moviemaking process, it's the expectations from legions of fans all over the world. The franchise has become so popular that fans are always wondering what's coming next and being in charge of all that could certainly get to be too much. It seems, however, that once production began, most, or all, of that pressure went away, as Rian Johnson and his crew instead needed to focus on the job of making the movie. Filming each scene becomes the most important thing as it's happening, and the rest of the pressure fades into the background.
This is probably a good sign for fans who were excited to learn that Rian Johnson was taking control of a Star Wars movie. He built a strong fanbase thanks to movies like Brick and Looper which were very character driven pieces. It seems from Johnson's comments that these aspects of his traditional filmmaking haven't been lost under the weight of Star Wars. It's possible that Star Wars: The Last Jedi could be one of the most personal and intimate stories yet told within the franchise.
The more we learn the more excited we become to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We're sitting here patiently waiting for a trailer so that we can get our first look at exactly what Rian Johnson is talking about.