Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi is the longest Star Wars movie ever made, but at one point it was even longer. Rian Johnson's upcoming sequel to J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens continues the story left off with that film but also takes the long-running saga in a new direction, one that gave a few of the film's stars, such as Mark Hamill, pause at first.
While the movie will expand the ongoing saga's narrative, people are looking for closure on a variety of topics and questions that were left lingering at the end of The Force Awakens. For one, who are Rey and Snoke, and who are Rey's parents? Those questions may not be answered in full in The Last Jedi, just as Han Solo's (Harrison Ford) death may not be addressed either, but audiences should rest assured knowing that several other topics will be addressed. The movie would need to be unbelievably long in order to discuss everything. As it turns out, it almost was even longer than fans expected.
Johnson told Collider at Star Wars press day that The Last Jedi's original cut was over three hours long and that the movie was always meant to be longer than the rest of the saga's episodes. He said: "We had a long movie from the start. It was well over three hours, the first cut… It’s much better at two and a half [hours] than it was at over three, but it was a cut I had put together, is where we started. And it was over three hours." Johnson also said that some of the deleted scenes will be included in the movie's home release but fans shouldn't expect an extended cut.
"I’m really not into [releasing an extended 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. 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."
The Last Jedi's runtime was recently confirmed to be 2 hours 31 minutes (151 minutes) long, thus making the film the longest Star Wars movie ever made by quite a margin. George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones is the second longest installment, running at 142 minutes, with Episode III - Revenge of the Sith clocking in at 140 minutes. The rest of the films hover around 130 minutes, with Lucas' original film, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, being the franchise's shortest chapter at 121 minutes long.
Although Star Wars movies typically don't need require runtimes, The Last Jedi's narrative surely calls for it, especially with all the new characters joining the fold this time around, who will be getting a hefty amount of screen-time in addition to exploring the stories left off from the last installment. The question now is, will Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX be shorter or longer than The Last Jedi?
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018