Is there any film franchise in history larger than ‘Star Wars’? People can make an argument for ‘Lord of the Rings’, helmed by Peter Jackson throughout, but on box office numbers alone and a projected future series of films they would probably be shut down. So, knowing that ‘Star Wars’ is the largest franchise in the history of cinema a director would have to be crazy to take on the role. Rian Johnson, as it turns out, is just crazy enough to take the gig. Even crazier? He relied upon his “inner fan” in order to bring the latest film — “The Last Jedi” — to life.
Rian Johnson will be looking at the largest ‘Star Wars’ release of all time when ‘The Last Jedi’ hits theaters this Holiday season. The film comes to theaters a couple of years after ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’ were released, by different writers and directors, to critical and commercial acclaim. Looking at the box office numbers for ‘The Force Awakens’ alone can be dizzying as the blockbuster reeled in nearly $2 billion around the world. So, it is pretty clear that Johnson has some heat to deal with — especially because he wrote and directed ‘The Last Jedi’. The show is all about him.
Johnson, who rose to acclaim thanks to his work on the hit scifi film ‘Looper’, is being tasked with telling the story of Luke Skywalker. Skywalker, the original hero from the ’70s classics, is finally returning to the big screen in a major way as he takes on the ‘Yoda’ role of mentor to the series’ new franchise lead, Rey (played by Daisey Ridley). Johnson is being tasked with telling Skywalker’s story for all of those intervening years and he has to do it without Carrie Fisher or Harrison Ford on screen. That’s no easy task.
Still, despite all of the pressures Johnson approached the concept with joy in his heart. Johnson says, “Once I actually jumped into it, it was the most fun I’ve ever had writing.” Johnson goes on to detail how the story developing process was a completely immersive experience. Johnson would work closely with Kiri Hart as well as her entire storytelling team to make sure that they were getting everything done perfectly. Above all, though, Johnson relied on his own gut. Johnson says, “The first thing I kind of realized was, I have to trust my inner fan.”