John Boyega has praised director Rian Johnson for bringing his unique style and energy to Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. The upcoming eighth saga installment continues the story that J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt had laid out in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, with the franchise newcomers fighting alongside and against the First Order.
Although The Force Awakens was critically acclaimed and had broken several box office records, many people chastised the film for being a retread of A New Hope. It’s something that Abrams has since addressed and even admitted to doing, saying that the film was meant to act as a bridge between the original and sequel trilogies, reminding people of what Star Wars was. Some fans were concerned that The Last Jedi would also borrow heavily from the original trilogy, particularly from The Empire Strikes Back, but that’s something that Johnson has expressly refuted and people can even see that for themselves by watching the movie’s first trailer, as well as taking a look through the various images and concept art. Furthermore, Boyega recently explained why Episode VIII will be different.
Boyega has been busy doing press for his upcoming film Detroit, and in an interview with EW, he briefly talked about The Last Jedi and how having Johnson at the helm has breathed new life and energy into the ongoing saga; the actor even equated the director to Santa Claus.
“Being a different person comes with a different energy, a different perspective, and Rian definitely has his own unique style. Rian is just fun. Rian is just a fun guy. I have a feeling he is Santa Claus. I think Santa Claus is a part time director when it comes to December. He grows out the beard then does his thing, because he just so giving, he’s cheerful on set, and it’s always a fun time.”
The actor’s comments about Johnson having his own unique style fall inline with previous comments from other cast and crew members who have said that The Last Jedi takes the story in new directions. Moreover, Boyega believes that having different directors for each installment allows for varying perspectives, even though they’re continuing the same story and ideas.
“What people fail to understand sometimes is that the success of these stories that will stay with us long-term is to bring new ideas, is to expand the universe. So we can have new stories, new people, just a different perspective is awesome. [Rian] had a chance to really go crazy, and I’m a big Star Wars buff so certain things I saw I was just like ‘Well, that’s a first.’ And that, for me, is really cool to experience.”
Part of that ability to expand and explore the ever-growing Star Wars galaxy, while also providing a new perspective, comes with having different directors and screenwriters involved with each production, something that George Lucas had done with the original trilogy. Although Lucas had directed the original Star Wars movie, he relegated himself to producer and story writer for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which were directed by Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand, respectively. The same applies to the sequel trilogy, with Abrams having directing The Force Awakens, Johnson directing The Last Jedi, and Colin Trevorrow directing the currently-untitled Episode IX.
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