Stepping into the room of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Conference, I was really excited. I mean, who wouldn’t be when you know that you are going to be in the same room as the entire cast, breathing their same air and listening to them talk about Star Wars. Of course, I had to snap a pic, or two (or fifty) before the press conference officially began.
Once the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Conference began, the lights went dim and the cast was escorted on to the stage by Praetorian Guards. One by one they all came on to the stage: Mark Hamill (“Luke Skywalker”), Daisy Ridley (“Rey”), John Boyega (“Finn”), Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”), Adam Driver (“Kylo Ren”), Domhnall Gleeson (“General Hux”), Gwendoline Christie (“Captain Phasma”), Andy Serkis (“Supreme Leader Snoke”), Laura Dern (“Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”), Kelly Marie Tran (“Rose Tico”) and Director Rian Johnson. I was overwhelmed with emotions!
Given that the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Conference was 45 minutes long, I won’t share every detail but here are the highlights of what they shared:
This movie is darker
it’s a second movie in the trilogy and I think we’ve been kind of trained to expect it’ll be a little darker and obviously it looks a little darker and the thing is though for me I loved the tone of the original films and also that J.J. captured in The Force Awakens of fun, and that’s like to me it’s a Star Wars movie, you know, 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 your backyard, grab your spaceship toys and make them fly around, you know, and that’s a key ingredient to it. So we’re going to go to some intense places in the movie but I hope also it’s fun, it’s funny. I don’t know, you’ve seen it. – Rian Johnson
“…I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s challenged deeply every single character, including the droids, you know, with like the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, and that’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark. You know, it’s like he’s found a way to get to the central point of that character and try to challenge them as best as he can. I think it’s really amazing what he’s done.” – Oscar Isaac
Daisy and John may not be together much in this film
“…the biggest thing for me when I read the script…I was a big nervous about not being a team so much in this one. So I think for me personally it was a challenge. The film was a challenge and I don’t know what it was like for anyone else, but to be in different combinations of people. So in itself, we’re in different situations, we’re with different people that we are learning about, we’re meeting for the first time, so yeah, felt pretty different for me.” – Daisy Ridley
Does Luke train Rey and pick up a light saber again?
“Well, you’re assuming that I train Rey…. I have to be really careful. People say, was it difficult to pick up and wield a light saber again, and I go, do I pick up a light saber?” – Mark Hamill
he then went on to say “I can promise you my part is twice as big as it was in The Force Awakens.”
The lighting is inspired by Empire Strikes Back
“…I think the cinematography in Empire is the most gorgeous of the whole series. And so Steve Yedlin and I looked at the lighting in that it’s pretty daring in terms of how dark they were willing to go with some of it – literally dark, and how gorgeous they went with some of the choices they made with the shaping of the lighting. But then in terms of like an actual visual aesthetic I made a choice very early on that I thought, well, I can either try and kind of copy my idea of what the original movies did, which was much more of kind of a formal, the camera didn’t move a ton and it was a much more formal type visual aesthetic, or I realized, you know, we’re going to take visual cues lighting wise and design wise from the previous movies, but I need to just shoot this movie the way that I would shoot a movie, because at the end of the day, if I’m not engaged with it, and I’m not trying to tell the story the way that really makes me excited, then it’s not going to be up there on the screen. So I kind of cut myself loose camera movement wise and shot wise from trying to imitate the past and just try to tell the story as excitingly as I could up on the screen.” – Rian Johnson
There is a big presence of strong women in this film
“I think that it feels like both an honor and a responsibility at the same time. I feel like from the beginning when I initially found out I got this role, I just felt like I wanted to do the whole thing justice, and I’m so excited that guys, the girls in this movie kick some butt. Every single one is so good, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.” – Kelly Marie Tran
“I just want to pay tribute to Rian for being one of the most brilliantly subversive filmmakers I’ve ever been able to bear witness to, and in the case of the look of my character, I was moved by the fact that he really wanted her strength to first lead with a very deep femininity and to see a powerful female character also be feminine is something that moves away from a stereotype that’s sometimes perceived in strong female characters must be like the boys. I thought that was a really interesting choice to get to witness.” – Laura Dern
“…. You get to see women that are not being strong just because they’re acting like men. They’re doing something else. And also you’re seeing a developed character or at least a developing character, that’s showing some complex character traits. And I’m just delighted about that. I’m delighted that something as legendary as Star Wars has decided to be modern and to reflect our society more as it is.” – Gwendoline Christie
Every character has a story you get to see on screen
“…I think you really follow the story ‘cause you’re with every character, like everything you need to see is happening on screen, you’re not seeing things happen off screen, that have happened off screen, so people asking questions on screen, they’re getting answers on screen, they’re having their adventure on screen, so you’re with everyone every step of the way. So how the story’s unfolding. And I think it makes for compassionate viewing because you’re really understanding both sides, why people are doing the things they’re doing, and how it’s being fed from everywhere and how things collide and the consequences of people’s actions, how they’re directly affecting other people.” – Daisy Ridley
This may not go the way you think
“I don’t think any line in the script epitomized my reaction more than this is not going to go the way you think. And Rian pushed me out of my comfort zone, as if I weren’t as intimidated and terrified to begin with, but I’m grateful, because you have to trust someone and he was the only Obi Wan available to me, not only in my choices as an actor, but my choices in sock wear.” – Mark Hamill
How the death of Hans Solo affects this film
I think we’re just keeping it moving, to be honest with you…there’s no time. I think that’s the one thing that’s unique to me about watching this movie was just the commentary on war. I think there hasn’t been a Star Wars movie yet that has explored war in the way The Last Jedi does. It’s very messy, the categorizing of good and evil is all mixed together…I’m sure we’d all feel sentimental if someone was to sit Finn down or sit Rey down, but Rey’s off training, she’s got stuff to do. I’ve got back injury, I’ve got stuff to do. I can’t think about Han at the moment.” – John Boyega
“I will interject there, and I think this is the beauty of having storylines that are sort of happening in tandem and affecting each other, ‘cause I would say that Rey at least is very much affected by it, and I think like in the What did I say? What did I do? In the first – like, Rey, as a character has been alone for a really long time and she’s really open to like love and friendship, so Finn and BB-8 come along and it’s like this amazing adventure. And then Han, like without trying to, she seeks something from him because there’s an intimacy and there’s a sort of figure of something she’s never dreamed of for her, that gets, you know, snatched away, and she’s understanding everything’s new to her, so she’s understanding things in a different way, and luckily for me, ‘cause I was trying to get to grips with everything going on, and then Rey’s trying to get to grips with everything going on. So for Rey at least there is some time. Everything’s moving forward but she has some time to ask questions and wonder what it is that would have led someone to do something like that, and also how that directly affects the world around her, ‘cause yeah, and then you know, she’s worried about Finn at home, so I would say she’s maybe a little more affected, at least emotionally on screen, than the others.” – Daisy Ridley
Carrie Fisher’s Legacy
“Well, endless thoughts and also you know, a profound impact that she made on me as a girl, and spoken so beautifully by Gwen, so I’ll just speak to this present experience, to say that as we always had with Carrie, not just Leia, her wisdom, and you know, people speak about people who are brave or fearless, but beyond that, I’ve known luckily a few people that would hold those descriptions, but not that they would be without shame, and that’s what moved me the most about the icon she gave us, but also what she gave us individually and personally which is to Carrie, who she was so directly and to be without shame, and to share her story, and to expect nothing less from any of us. And the privilege of watching how Rian has so beautifully captured all of that and her grace in this amazing, beautiful, pure performance, but also I think she found an equal irreverent subservice and they had this dance that gives us this performance that I was just so moved by.” – Laura Dern
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be in theaters December 15, 2017
In the meantime, do you want to know more about Star Wars? Check out these posts:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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*I was invited to attend the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Junket. All of my lodging meals and transportation were provided by Disney. However, all opinions are my own.