Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson said during a press conference this morning that he wants Episode VIII to feel like a Star Wars movie first and foremost–which to him means “fun.”
“It’s the second movie in the trilogy, and I think we’ve been kind of trained to expect it will be a little darker, and obviously it looks a little darker,” Johnson said. “The thing is, though, for me, I loved the tone of the original films, and also that J.J. [Abrams] captured in The Force Awakens, of fun. And that, to me, is a Star Wars movie. 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 the backyard and grab your spaceship toys and make them fly around.”
“That’s a key ingredient to it,” he continued. “So we’re going to go to some intense places in the movie, but I hope also it’s fun, and it’s funny.”
Oscar Isaac, who plays Resistance fighter Poe Dameron, said The Last Jedi has one advantage over The Force Awakens.
“Often with the second chapter in the story of three, because the first one sets the tone and the world and the new characters, it introduces them, 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, into the conflict of each of the characters,” Isaac said. “I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s deeply challenged every single character–including the droids–the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, and that’s how you’re really able to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark.”
“The story’s moving forward,” added John Boyega, who stars as defected Storm Trooper Finn. “J.J. [Abrams] had a blueprint, a foundation, in The Force Awakens that was pretty good. And now it’s about moving the story and the characters forward. All the characters are under intense pressure.”
Daisy Ridley, who plays Jedi-in-training Rey, said she’s “a bit nervous” about the situations some of the characters find themselves in. “Because people responded well to John [Boyega] and I as a team, I was a bit nervous about not being a team so much in this one,” she said. “I think for me personally it was a challenge–I don’t know what it was like for anyone else–but to be in different combinations of people.”
“I was blown away when I saw the movie,” said Andy Serkis, who plays Supreme Leader Snoke, a character we only caught a glimpse of in The Force Awakens. “I just was so caught up with it, not least because it was really intimate and very emotional…It’s very very powerful, and it touches you. What Rian’s done incredibly is make this tonal dance between these great epic moments and hilarious antics, literally flipping on a dime.”
“I think the reason why [Star Wars] has resonated so deeply is that it’s a foundation story of good against evil,” said Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma. “But there’s something about this film, and I think it’s becauses the world that we live in is a changing and evolving place, that it retains the simplicity of those elements–that it really resonates with what it is to follow your own, human, dark, narcissistic tendencies–where that will take you–and I love that.”
For Mark Hamill’s part, he had one response when asked about the balance between darkness and fun in The Last Jedi: “My answer would be in direct proportion to the amount of screentime I have.”
hits theaters December 15.