The Last Jedi shirtless Kylo Ren scene has an important storytelling purpose, according to the Star Wars movie's sound designer/supervisor. Like The Force Awakens and Rogue One before it, The Last Jedi has proven that Star Wars is still a huge industry. The Last Jedi opened to a massive $450 million across the globe this past weekend, breaking some box office records along the way. The movie is also benefitting from near-universal critical support.
Though Star Wars: The Last Jedi clearly has no shortage of fans, many die-hards are displeased with Rian Johnson's upending of tradition in the film. From disregarding big reveals to featuring lots of humor to introducing new Force powers, debates have been raging all weekend over The Last Jedi. One such moment in the film that fans are talking about is Kylo Ren's shirtless scene, when he's communicating with Rey. Fanservice it may be, the scene also has a point from a narrative standpoint, according to those who worked on it.
Huffington Post spoke with Star Wars: The Last Jedi sound supervisor Ren Klyce and brought up the subject of shirtless Kylo. According to Kyce, there was an essential reason for the bare-all moment:
“The way in which [director Rian Johnson] decided to create the Force connection by just simply doing vertical cuts without using any CG ... it’s pure simplicity in terms of filmmaking with visual cuts. We cut to her side; we cut to Kylo Ren; we cut to her; and back and forth. That was important to establish what she was actually seeing. Was she hearing his voice or seeing his face or just his eyes? And so that [shirtless scene] is to inform the audience, ‘Oh, she can see his body.’”
While not everyone may buy this explanation, it's hard to imagine Johnson just randomly throwing in a moment of Kylo shirtless for no reason. Aside from humanizing a character who spent most of The Force Awakens in Darth Vader cosplay, the scene clarifies just how much Rey can see of Kylo. Both previously confirm they can't see each other's surroundings, but the shirtless moment is a perfect way to establish Rey can see all of Kylo. And as Klyce adds, “It’s also good humor.”
As for the filming style, there was a genius to the simplicity of the Rey/Kylo long-distance chats. While plenty of aliens and creatures were brought to life with CGI in the film, Johnson wisely chose to keep the tense conversations between Kylo and Rey practical. The result wasn't dissimilar from standard cuts in a movie during a conversation, only with a massive distance between the two characters. The scenes, along with the humor in the film, also help clue us into what Johnson's Star Wars trilogy will be like. Until then, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will have to hold fans over.
Source: Huffington Post
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019