Ahead of the home video release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, lucky fans at South by Southwest were able to see a screening of a documentary of the film’s production, which will be packaged alongside the movie.
After the screening of the documentary The Director and the Jedi, Mark Hamill sat with writer and director Rian Johnson, producer Ram Bergman, and documentary director Anthony Wonkie to discuss their process of making the new Star Wars movie. When opening up the floor to fan questions, Hamill was asked about his “distaste” with Johnson over the direction of Luke Skywalker.
“It’s not distaste at all,” said Hamill. “It just wasn’t a Luke I understood.” He had to come up with his own reasons for why Luke “picked the new Hitler to be the next hope” as well as “how I justified cutting off my telepathic communication with my sister.”
He would later say that this role was like “going home again, but it was a house I didn’t recognize at all.”
“When you get down to it, it’s not Mark Hamill in a blockbuster film. It’s Luke,” Hamill said. “I had to do a wild reimagining of the character. Like, hey, what happened between the last one and this one, where the most hopeful man in the galaxy becomes a cranky old suicidal man telling people to get off his lawn?”
“Later on, Johnson would add that the collaboration between cast and crew produces a better finished product.
“In the context of how this has all been framed, you have to snap your head back and remember that with every single movie, with characters, it’s always a dialogue between the director and actors,” said Johnson. “That’s a healthy thing. You always butt heads with actors.”
A fan asked what Hamill would have done with his own version of Episode VIII (prompting Johnson to jokingly chime in with a “What would you do, motherf**ker?”) and Hamill admitted that he had many terrible ideas. He then brought up a similar argument he had with George Lucas after reading the screenplay for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
“I read [the script for Return of the] Jedi,” Hamill said, “and thought, ‘Wait a sec! I thought I was heading toward the struggle of heading to the Dark Side. I’m in black. I have a glove. I see a trend here.'”
Hamill started relating to the Star Wars fans who have a lot of love for the franchise, regretting how he came across in the media.
“I’m like a lot of you. I feel an investment in it, a certain sense of ownership, which is a joke, because I don’t own it, now Disney does,” Hamill said. “But you care! That’s what happens with these films. I’m sorry I lowered my guard and expressed my misgivings about it. That belongs in the [filmmaking] process. That doesn’t belong to the public. I feel bad because I made that statement before I saw the finished film.”
He went on to call The Last Jedi “probably the most complex Star Wars film since maybe Empire,” expressing gratitude for what Johnson was able to accomplish.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the documentary The Director and the Jedi will be available on Digital HD on March 13th, followed by the Blu-ray and DVD release on March 27th.
(h/t ARS Technica)
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