The Last Jedi director, producer discuss film's deleted scenes
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Some things are best left floating in the ether beyond the galaxy far, far away.
Writer-director and producer pair Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman, who have worked together on films like Looper and The Brothers Bloom, brought a staggering 152 minutes worth of action-packed Star Wars fun to the big screen on Friday with The Last Jedi. That run time alone makes the eighth episode of the Skywalker saga the longest out of the entire film collection, but, as it turns out, it could have been even more drawn-out, as there was plenty of footage left out of the theatrical cut.
Chatting with Deadline, Johnson and Bergman spoke about how much was scrapped, with Johnson noting that the two tore The Last Jedi to bits during editing.
"There's a lot of movie. Even more in the deleted scenes. There's plenty more," Bergman said.
Johnson added, "We shot a lot, man. Just like any other film, it came together in the edit. The editing is the completion of the writing process. We were not at all precious about this film. We tore it apart. We ripped stuff out. There's going to be a lot of great deleted scenes." The director then joked that he isn't "trying to sell Blu-rays," but fans can look forward to seeing a ton of cut footage on the physical release of The Last Jedi.
And these snipped-away scenes aren't humdrum ones either, like clips of Finn (John Boeyga) walking down hallways or Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) strutting about the bridge of the Resistance ship Raddus. As Johnson stated, there are "entire sequences that got lifted out" of The Last Jedi, which, when viewed on their own, are "some of [his] favorite sequences" of the film. The director said that it was "for the good of the whole" that those scenes were cut.
"We rearranged stuff. We were constantly messing with the intercutting between the plot lines. There are very few of the intercuts that are in there as written in the script," he explained. "We ended up re-engineering a lot of it during the course of editing because that's what the edit is for. All bets are off, and you just have to make the thing work."
Johnson then said one of his favorite parts of penning the script for The Last Jedi was getting to write a slightly surly Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who grew weary of the world around him after his time training his nephew Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to become a Jedi went all kinds of wrong.
"I had so much fun writing grumpy Luke. But at the same time, it was also nerve-wracking because it's a long way from the Luke that we know," said Johnson. "Honestly, that came out of what I felt was a necessity, because it came from where he was at the end of Episode VII, The Force Awakens. The fact that he had exiled himself to this island when his friends were still fighting the good fight, that just led me down a certain path with him. I couldn't really see any other alternative."
Though viewers will get to see a treasure trove of clipped Last Jedi footage down the line, they won't, unfortunately, ever see a director's cut of the film. Johnson previously explained that what's playing in cinemas now is his cut.
"I feel like the cut is what it is because I feel like it's the best version of the movie, so the 'director's cut' is the movie that's going out in theaters," he told Collider earlier this year. "All the deleted scenes, no matter how much I love them, they came out for a reason and it's all for the greater good of the movie itself. You can watch the deleted scenes on their own, I think that's the way to watch them, but the movie is definitely the best version of the movie I think."
Even with a bundle of original scenes removed, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is faring quite well with critics; the Broadcast Film Critics Association recently gave the film its coveted Seal of Distinction. Fans, on the other hand, are a little more on the fence.