Director Rian Johnson says he’s “even more proud” of Star Wars: the last Jedi on its fifth anniversary tahn he was when it came out
During an interview with Empire Magazine, the 48-year-old filmmaker explained, “I’m even more proud of it five years on,” he said. “When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball.”
The Last Jedi followed directly on from Star Wars: The Force Awakens but developed the Skywalker Saga in wholly unexpected ways. Continuing the story of Rey, Poe, and Finn, the second installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy was not afraid to go in unexpected directions. After all, as Johnson explained himself, The Last Jedi isn’t just a Star Wars movie.
“I think it’s impossible for any of us to approach Star Wars without thinking about it as a myth that we were raised with, and how that myth, that story, baked itself into us and affected us,” explained Johnson. “The ultimate intent was not to strip away – the intent was to get to the basic, fundamental power of myth. And ultimately, I hope the film is an affirmation of the power of the myth of Star Wars in our lives.”
The myth of the titular Last Jedi was central to the movie, as you might expect. However, Johnson explained that he wasn’t merely deconstructing the myth of Jedi master, Luke Skywalker. It was about breaking down the myth to get to the parts that really matter.
“The final images of the movie, to me, are not deconstructing the myth of Luke Skywalker, they’re building it, and they’re him embracing it,” he explained. “They’re him absolutely defying the notion of, ‘Throw away the past,’ and embracing what actually matters about his myth and what’s going to inspire the next generation. So, for me, the process of stripping away is always in the interest of getting to something essential that really matters.”
When it comes to The Last Jedi, we see Skywalker’s return (and ultimate sacrifice) turn him into a symbol of hope for the Resistance forces. And perhaps that’s exactly what the galaxy needed.
The Last Jedi famously became a deeply divisive (and occasionally toxic) part of pop culture upon release, about which Johnson has commented many times since. Whether you agree or not, Johnson clearly stands by his decision.
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Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.