During production on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Adam Driver traveled to Ireland so he could act off-camera opposite Daisy Ridley for the filming of Rey and Kylo Ren's "Force connection" conversations. When director Rian Johnson was in the midst of principal photography in 2016, headlines were made when the trio of Ridley, Driver, and Mark Hamill were spotted arriving in Ireland, home to Skellig Michael. The island portrayed the planet Ahch-To in the sequel trilogy, where Rey found Luke Skywalker at the end of The Force Awakens. With this specific group all coming together, many fans thought that Kylo Ren (and his Knights of Ren) were going to find the remote world themselves and come to blows with the heroes.
However, Kylo Ren never pays visit to Ahch-To in the film, causing some to wonder why Driver was on location for scenes there. Even if these sequences were deleted, there doesn't seem to be a natural spot in the narrative for them. Now, the truth behind the actor's excursion to Ireland has been revealed, shedding light on a cool behind-the-scenes factoid.
In an interview with People, Johnson described the process of putting together Rey and Kylo's now-famous "Force Skype" scenes, sharing that Driver went the extra mile (literally) to make things easier for Ridley:
“Every single time we shot one of their sides, the other person was off camera. Even to the point where Adam flew to Ireland just to be off camera for Daisy’s stuff, which was essential because they’re such intimate conversations. And that also meant we had to shoot each of those scenes twice basically, which meant the rehearsal time was really important. And my editor Bob Ducsay did an amazing job then of making it feel kind of seamless after the fact.”
This was a nice gesture on Driver's part, and it definitely helped the scenes as they're seen in the film. Rey and Kylo's talks are noteworthy for the chemistry the two characters shared, and that dynamic was allowed to flourish because the actors were playing off each other. No matter how talented a thespian is, it can be challenging when called to act against nothing - or even a stand-in. Johnson very easily could have recited Kylo's lines to Ridley, but the fact she got to do the sequences with Driver (who probably stayed in-character with his method acting) underscored them with authenticity that made them more captivating to watch unfold. There was a palpable tension in the air that may not have been there if the scenes were shot in some other way.
Though Rey is now reunited with her friends, her relationship with Kylo Ren remains the sequel trilogy's most fascinating. By the end of The Last Jedi, it seemed like Ben Solo was truly lost, never to be redeemed. Rey even closed the Millennium Falcon's ramp - severing her connection with her frenemy. It'll be interesting to see how J.J. Abrams resolves this plot thread in Episode IX, but there's no shortage of ways he can take it.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019