‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Director Rian Johnson Reveals His Cinematic Influences
With Rogue One behind us, it’s time to look toward the next chapter in the Star Wars saga: The Last Jedi. We have 11 months until the Rian Johnson-helmed Episode VIII hits theaters, which means the shroud of secrecy is slowly beginning to fall away — starting with last week’s reveal of the official title. Though an official plot has yet to be released by Lucasfilm, we may have a few clues about what to expect from the upcoming sequel, as Johnson has revealed some of the films that influenced his direction.
Johnson has a certain knack for paying homage to classic cinema while telling original and engaging stories, from the noir-flavored Brick to the thrilling sci-fi of Looper — so it’s not exactly surprising that the writer and director of the new Star Wars sequel found additional inspiration outside George Lucas’ iconic universe. While speaking with Empire, Johnson revealed a few of his cinematic influences, including Twelve O’Clock High (a film he’s referenced before with regards to The Last Jedi):
Twelve O’Clock High was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots. Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun. And To Catch A Thief was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur.
Of course, Johnson also took inspiration from the established Star Wars universe when writing his sequel — specifically the way dialogue was handled in Lucas’ original trilogy:
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.