Rian Johnson Explains Why He Took So Many Risks In The Last Jedi

Leia floating through space

Of the myriad major film franchises, Star Wars is one of the most popular. George Lucas' colorful space opera has entranced moviegoers for decades, with generations of film fans growing up watching each new episode. Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm helped to expand the galaxy far, far away, with filmmakers able to craft new stories within the beloved property. Rian Johnson did just that with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, making liberal changes to the canon and storytelling risks that didn't always jive well with the fandom.

The Last Jedi picked up shortly after the events of The Force Awakens, and Rian Johnson's plot twists subverted fan expectations for the highly anticipated blockbuster. Rey's parentage, Snoke's fate, and Leia's Force abilities threw the collective fandom for a loop, and now the Knives Out director has explained why he took so many risks with his addition to the Star Wars franchise. He said:

I think the instant you start thinking in terms of how do you not step outside of the bounds of what the original movies did, you're not thinking the way the people who made the original movies did. They were with every movie, they were pushing it forward, with every movie they were stepping outside those bounds and pushing the characters into new, emotionally honest, but surprising places. That's why those movies are great. That's why they're alive. If they had been looking at something that came before it and saying, 'Oh, we better not do this because that is outside of this or that,' it would've been different.

The man's got a point. Filmmaking is all about artistic expression, even when its in major franchises. Rather than doing a color by numbers version of a Star Wars movie, he took risks that will forever change the overall canon. And by doing so, he provided countless surprising moments for cinephiles in theaters.

Rian Johnson' comments from Creative Processing with Joseph Gordon-Levitt help to illuminate his thought process when approaching Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The collective fandom was shocked by the choices he made for the film's characters, especially when it came to franchise favorites like Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa.

Related: Rian Johnson Says The Last Jedi Backlash Won't Affect His New Trilogy

The Last Jedi shocked fans when it arrived in December of 2017. And while the blockbuster originally was the subject of fan backlash, it's clear that Lucasfilm and Disney were happy with Rian Johnson's work. After all, he's developing his own trilogy of movies, so his perspective on the galaxy isn't going anywhere.

It should be interesting to see how Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker moves on from the events of The Last Jedi. It was revealed that Leia has Force Abilities, and Rey's parentage was seemingly revealed by Kylo Ren in the last film's third act. Fans are also eager to see if Snoke is further explored, following his unceremonious death in Episode VIII.

All will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20th. CinemaBlend will also keep you updated on Rian Johnson's upcoming trilogy as details are revealed. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.