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One of the special aspects of George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy was the key perspective from which the story was told. While characters like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia are certainly the heroes in the story, a great deal of the narrative is driven from the viewpoints of R2-D2 and C-3PO -- arguably the lowest on the ensemble totem pole. It's a move that was taken from the playbook of Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress -- a movie that heavily inspired Lucas -- but audiences definitely shouldn't prepare for that to be an aspect of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As director Rian Johnson recently explained,
It's different. It was different in The Force Awakens, and it's different in this also. We don't quite so much the Hidden Fortress, kind of worm's-eye view of the story that we started with in those movies. And with this... yeah, different story had different needs, so we are much more kind of with our leads the whole time.
Along with the main cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson participated in a press conference at the film's Los Angeles junket this past weekend, and responded to a question about the principal perspective in the story. While the movie certainly does feature a number of key droid characters -- including not only R2-D2 and C-3PO, but also BB-8 and BB-9E -- they will not have the eyes from which we watch the story unfold.
Given everything that we expect to happen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this isn't altogether surprising. The key characters introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Daisy Ridley's Rey, John Boyega's Finn, and Oscar Isaac's Poe) all have big arcs set up in the sequel, and it makes sense that they should keep their own focus as their individual stories are unfolding. We certainly don't expect the droids to be sidelined completely, quite the contrary in fact, but it makes sense that Rian Johnson doesn't use the same Hidden Fortress influence that first inspired George Lucas back in the mid-1970s.
For those curious about the movies that Rian Johnson did watching in preparation for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the good news is that he shared that list earlier this according. Speaking with Empire, he labeled Henry King's Twelve O'Clock High (for the look of the aerial battles), Hideo Gosha's Three Outlaw Samurai (for swordfights), and Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief (for "romantic scale and grandeur"). If you have time between now and you're screening of the new Star Wars feature, it might be a good, fun idea to try and watch those three titles in advance.