'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Spoiler Buzz: Rian Johnson on Rey's Parents and Snoke, Plus Easter Eggs

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Spoiler Buzz: Rian Johnson on Rey's Parents and Snoke, Plus Easter Eggs

Dec 18, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has now opened --- and already made a ton of money --- and it's time for everyone to discuss the movie. What does it all mean? What happens next? Below are some SPOILER heavy bites to satisfy your big questions after you've seen the latest episode.


What did I miss?

First, let's make sure you caught everything in The Last Jedi. Kylo Ren answered... Snoke wound up... Luke Skywalker did... Okay, you got all that, but did you get the gag about the green milk? Did you notice the detailed callbacks to Luke's prosthetic hand being shot and to Finn's jacket (previously Poe's) being sewn up where it was damaged by lightsaber? Were you aware of the nods to people and places and things in the Star Wars books and other Expanded Universe materials? If not, then MovieWeb has you covered with a guide to all the Easter eggs to be found in The Last Jedi. 


Did they really bring back... ?

Yes, Yoda made his return to the Star Wars series for the first time in the sequel trilogy, and hopefully for most viewers it was a secret and resulted in a great surprise cameo appearance for fans. Why was it important to bring him back in Episode VIII and what important details about the Jedi Master's character needed to be reprised? Johnson shared his choices regarding the iconic little green guy, including the desire to portray him with a puppet again, to Uproxx in a spoiler-filled interview

[Going with the ornery version of Yoda] felt really important to me. And, actually, I cut some of that out and Frank Oz [the voice of Yoda] said to me I had to put it back. Because when I first pitched him the scene, it’s like the Yoda from [The Empire Strikes Back] is back because that’s the one Luke had the emotional connection with. And that’s why we did the puppet and re-created the Empire puppet: Neal Scanlan and his team did a re-creation of the Yoda puppet. It’s not only a puppet, it’s an exact replica of the Empire puppet. They found the original molds for it. They found the woman that painted the original eyes for Yoda. Then Frank came and worked with them for a few weeks to get the puppet right. He did a lot of testing and a lot of adjusting with the puppet creators. It was amazing to watch the process. The idea that the last time Luke saw Yoda was in Return of the Jedi and the notion of getting back to that version of Yoda to form the emotional connection with Luke – including a glimpse of the impishness, as part of their relationship. It made a lot of sense.


Unfortunately, a number of reviews did mention the character being in the movie, and talk show hosts blurted out the spoiler on air, as seen in the video below. You can tell this wasn't supposed to be a talking point given the reaction of John Boyega, who plays Finn.



Are Rey's parents really... ?

The identity of Rey's parents is such a big question throughout Star Wars: The Force Awakens and afterward, and curiosity has kept fans intrigued and deep in speculation over the last two years as we waited for The Last Jedi to hopefully provide an answer. Well, we got one in the movie, care of Kylo Ren, but it's not the most satisfying for audiences. Apparently, unless Kylo is lying to Rey to make her upset, they were nobodies, just poor junk traders who sold their daughter off for drinking money. They're now dead in a pauper's grave on Jakku. Is the answer a cop out, or is it a perfect twist? 

Writer-director Rian Johnson addressed the revelation at an AMPAS screening over the weekend, via Entertainment Weekly:

I was thinking, what’s the most powerful answer to that question? Powerful meaning: what’s the hardest thing that Rey could hear? That’s what you’re after with challenging your characters.

I think back to the "I am your father" moment with Vader and Luke, and the reason I think that lands is not because it’s a surprise or a twist but because it’s the hardest thing Luke and thus the audience could hear at that moment. It turns someone into a bad guy that you just hate and want to kill into suddenly, Oh my God, this is a part of our protagonist. We have to start thinking of this person in more complex terms. We need to start thinking in terms of a redemption arc.

In our movie, it’s kind of the opposite. The easiest thing for Rey and the audience to hear is, Oh yeah, you’re so-and-so’s daughter. That would be wish fulfillment and instantly hand her a place in this story on a silver platter.

The hardest thing for her is to hear she’s not going to get that easy answer. Not only that, but Kylo is going to use the fact that you don’t get that answer to try and weaken you so you have to lean on him. You’re going to have to find the strength to stand on your own two feet and define yourself in this story.

Johnson means for the revelation to be the truth, but he did acknowledge during the same Q&A that the next movie could turn things back around and retcon Kylo Ren's bombshell to be either a lie or a mistake -- similar to Obi-Wan's like to Luke in Star Wars about his father being dead. Writer-director J.J. Abrams, who introduced the question when he helmed The Force Awakens, and co-writer Chris Terrio may be interested in undoing Johnson's twist with a more fan-serving revelation of their own. Johnson said of this possibility:

I can’t speak to what they’re going to do. And there’s always, in these movies, a question of "a certain point of view." But for me, in that moment, Kylo believes it’s the truth. I don’t think he’s purely playing chess. I think that’s what he saw when they touched fingers and that’s what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it.


Why did Snoke have to... ?

Another mystery for fans throughout and after The Force Awakens pertains to the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke. Who is he? What's his origin? Does he have significance beyond being this trilogy's big bad? Have we seen or heard of him before? In The Last Jedi, we definitely get to see more of Snoke, this time in the flesh rather than hologram form. But we learn nothing about his past, which is fine because we didn't know much about the Emperor during the original trilogy and only got his origins via the prequels. And then he's just killed off suddenly, giving us nothing left to wonder about the character going forward. 

Johnson discussed his choices for Snoke and how they were all about making Kylo Ren a stronger villain for Episode IX, during the AMPAS screening, too. Again via Entertainment Weekly:

When I was working on the character of Kylo, I came to a place where I thought the most interesting thing would be to knock the shaky foundation out from under him at the beginning of this movie. By the end of this film, he’s gone from being a wannabe Vader to someone who is standing on his own feet as a complex villain taking the reins.

[That is] a really good setup going into the next movie.

But then the question is: What place would Snoke have at the end of that? That made me realize the most interesting thing would be to eliminate that dynamic between the "emperor" and pupil, so that all bets are off going into the next one. That also led to the possibility of this dramatic turn in the middle, which could also be a really powerful connection point between Kylo and Rey.

But what of Snoke's origins and identity? Couldn't Johnson have given the fans that, at least? After all, like with Rey's parentage, there have been so many theories and attempts to deduce the truth about his significance. Johnson addressed this issue and why an explanation wouldn't have fit in his movie:

I do think it’s interesting. I never want to poo-poo the fans coming up with theories. It’s part of the fun of being a Star Wars fan. If there is a place for it in another story, I hope it gets told.

It would have stopped any of these scenes dead cold if [Snoke] had stopped and given a 30-second speech about how he’s Darth Plagueis. It doesn’t matter to Rey. If he had done that, Rey would have blinked and said, "Who?" And the scene would have gone on.

...And I’m not saying he’s Darth Plagueis!


What happens next?

The ending of The Last Jedi surprisingly doesn't leave us with a plot cliffhanger or many new questions to be answered by the next, presumably final, chapter of the "Skywalker Saga." The First Order and the Resistence went to battle on Crait, the Resistence managed to retreat thanks to an astrally projected Luke Skywalker embarrassingly distracting Kylo Ren, and that's basically how things left off. Luke, exhausted, passed away. The rest of the characters are mostly back to where they were before, just in diminished numbers, because that's the evergoing way of the Star Wars movies. Oh, and a kid on Canto Bight uses the Force.

Now what? Do we see any more of that kid? Does Episode IX just give us more ups and downs, wins and losses for both sides, ad infinitum, to prove Benicio Del Toro's impartial character right? Will we ever see what became of Lando Calrissian? And most importantly, how will the next movie deal with the fact that Carrie Fisher, who plays General Leia, has died? Nobody knows what we can expect with the trilogy's conclusion except those currently producing and writing the thing. And maybe even they don't have all the answers just yet. Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy has, however, already said this of Leia:

We had not written the script [for Episode IX] yet, but we regrouped and started over again. Sadly, Carrie will not be in IX.

But one thing worth noting is that Abrams and Terrio are apparently restarting on the story for Episode IX from scratch rather than working off the script previously written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, who had originally been hired to direct the movie. Last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed, during his press conference about the company's acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox, that Abrams was pitching him the story for Episode IX that very day. It'll be a while before the details of that pitch become publicly known, so all we can do is speculate given what we have to work with at the end of The Last Jedi.

Johnson clearly meant to build Kylo Ren up to be a bigger and more conflicted adversary and threat to the Resistence, given his quotes above. And he hinted to Uproxx that he figures Luke will show up in some capacity as a Force ghost:

I’m not working on the script for IX with J.J. [Abrams] and Chris [Terrio] and I want to be totally clear I don’t know what they’re doing – but it just vaguely seemed good to me that putting Luke in another realm could open possibilities for his possible involvement in the next one. As opposed to him just being another character that had to be juggled into the plot, if that makes sense.


The Last Jedi is now in theaters. Episode IX is scheduled to release on December 20, 2019.



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