Since Disney + Lucasfilm has revealed the ultimate-sounding title for the 8th episode of Star Wars – The Last Jedi – the net has been a buzz with the Star Wars universe after the film.
And while The Last Jedi will follow the events of The Force Awakens, the director has revealed that the coming Star Wars film drew on many sources of inspiration in the crafting of the narrative. But these 3 features Rian Johnson, Episode 8’s director, keyed up to being the 3 major influences for the nuance of the coming film The Last Jedi:
Director Rian Johnson in his interview with Empire unveiled a somewhat unlikely but understandable film classic that captured a unique quality that he wanted to infuse in The Last Jedi – Twelve O’Clock High.
Twelve O’Clock High is a 1949 American war film about aircrews in the United States Army’s Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of American involvement in World War II.
Johnson spoke on the film as being “a big touchstone”, and felt that the American war film would add to the star War aesthetic, particularly for “the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots”.
Now this got us excited. It seems like Star Wars is going back to its duelling roots and space-swashbuckling fantasm with the mention of this film that has also inspire Episode 8 – Three Outlaw Samurai.
The film, based on a Japanese television series, is about a vagabond samurai by the name of Tetsuro Tamba along with ronins Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira – get hired to eliminate a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate.
Johnson spoke on the classic kung fu film and what element it would take as afflatus:
Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun.
For “the romantic scale and grandeur”, Johnson pegged these to be the main qualities from To Catch A Thief that would be infused into Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
An 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the film is about a retired infamous jewel thief “The Cat” who becomes the target of an investigation as recent series of robberies leads the police which suggests The Cat’s involvement.
But as Johnson made apparent, using classic films as inspiration for Star Wars 8, does potentially have its drawbacks:
I found myself constantly wanting to push modern idioms into the dialogue, and sometimes that can work, but you have to be very careful. If you go too far you can break that Star Wars spell. The other challenge is the tech talk, which has to be simultaneously complex enough to sound real and conceptually simple enough to follow. The original films were brilliant at that.
Let’s hope the team has found the right balance.
And while Rian Johnson couldn’t talk specifics, he did share the intimacy involved in making Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
“I guess the biggest surprise was the intimacy of the process. It’s huge, sure, and it’s filled with pressures great and small. But at the end of the day, it boils down to the same things as the smaller films we’ve made: telling a story we care about with a camera and some actors. And a Wookiee.”