Leave a Comment
In the theatrical cut of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Justin Theroux basically exists as an Easter egg -- making a super brief appearance that some fans rightfully only caught on second viewing. He's briefly featured in the city of Canto Bight, revealed as the Master Codebreaker for whom Finn and Rose Tico are searching, but he never actually makes contact with the heroes as they wind up getting arrested. Like any cool cameo, it's a fun thing to notice and recognize on rewatch, but according to Theroux, his part was actually going to be a bit bigger:
It was one of those things. Rian [Johnson] called me a couple of years before making it, and said, 'Hey, there's this character, blah, blah, blah.' And I think over the course of the making the character became reduced, as they sort of locked in on what the overall thing was. And then he sort of called me last minute, I'd sort of forgotten about it, and then he called me last minute and said, 'Hey, it's really essentially a cameo, and sort of a punchline. Would you like to come in and play this part?' And I thought, 'Sure, that'd be...' I mean, come on!
One year after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Justin Theroux is back on the big screen in the new drama On The Basis Of Sex, and it was during the new movie's Los Angeles press day that I had the opportunity to talk with him. At the end of the interview I specifically asked how the tiny role came together, and in his answer he revealed the surprising path the character took in development.
Given that Rian Johnson's outreach to Justin Theroux was years before the start of production on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we can't really say at present how his character might have fit into earlier drafts with potentially different plots. That being said, it's interesting to think about what could have happened in the context of the movie as we know it -- specifically the idea of Finn and Rose successfully making contact with the Master Codebreaker. Not only would this have stopped the heroes from crossing paths with D.J. (a.k.a. the man who would ultimately betrayed them), but it could have led to their plan succeeding and the Resistance escaping the First Order.
That being said, there surely would have been a lot of conflict thrown in the mix as well -- does anything happen without it in the Star Wars universe? -- so we probably won't have the full picture until somebody specifically asks Rian Johnson about it.
As for Justin Theroux, surely it must not feel great to have a role in a Star Wars film reduced down to a few frames of screen time, but the attitude with which he delivered his response definitely sold that he took the whole thing in stride. Being a professed fan of the franchise, he was just happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the universe, saying,
There's people who are dying to just put on a Stormtrooper outfit. And so it was great. I got one of the sort of more, to me, memorable scenes, with the hyper whacked out casino scene. Just to be on that set is just, obviously I'm a huge Star Wars fan and it's a childhood dream. It was one of those 'come to London for a week, put on a costume, and also a crazy mustache, and do it.' So it was fun.
Given that the Master Codebreaker is apparently a contact of Maz Kanata's, it's not impossible that we could see him again, so that's something to keep in mind. And even if he doesn't have any kind of role in the main "saga," maybe Justin Theroux's relationship with Rian Johnson could pay off in a different way down the line, given that the writer/director is currently developing his very own Star Wars trilogy set to be released post-Episode IX.
You can watch Justin Theroux discuss the surprising path to his cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi by clicking play on the video below:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has now been available on home video for a while, but fans can get a new dose of Justin Theroux on the big screen this week courtesy of On The Basis Of Sex. The film centers on would-be Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Felicity Jones) and tells the story of one of the most important cases in her early career. We'll have more from my interviews with the cast on CinemaBlend in the coming days, so stay tuned!