Director Rian Johnson has revealed that two emotional scenes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi were partly scripted by the late, great Carrie Fisher.
Although fans know Fisher best as an actress, she was also a scriptwriter in her own right. Her career as a scriptwriter began with The Empire Strikes Back, where Fisher adapted Lucas's own dialogue. By 1990, she had moved on from acting, and was working as a script doctor. She was involved in so many classics, ranging from Hook to Sister Act.
Johnson had already revealed that Fisher wrote some of the dialogue in The Last Jedi. Now, in an interview with The Daily Beast, he explained which scenes Fisher shaped. Possibly the most emotional scene in the film, the reunion between Luke and Leia was tremendously powerful. It's the first scene shared by the siblings since 1983's Return of the Jedi, with Luke handing his sister Han's golden dice. How can you possibly script a scene with so much power?
Johnson's answer was to go to Fisher herself. "She loved one-liners and jokes," Johnson remembered. "She could just pop out so many jokes." Casting his mind back to the scripting process, Johnson recalled that it was Fisher herself who came up with Leia's quick-witted response to Luke's presence, "The whole thing where she sits down with Luke and [says], 'I changed my hair,' obviously, that was her."
It sounds as though that day of filming was a powerful one. Johnson compared it to a church, with a reverent hush falling over the whole set. There was what Johnson calls "a weight to the whole thing," as though history was being made before the crew's eyes. In hindsight, of course, that moment was a farewell scene. It was the first scene shared by Fisher and Mark Hamill since 1983, but tragically it was also the last. "No one's ever really gone," Luke tells Leia. That line of dialogue offered comfort for Han's death, and was intended to strengthen Leia for Luke's. In a strange way though, it now offers comfort to Fisher's countless fans.
Another emotional highlight of the film was the death of Amilyn Holdo. Leia and Amilyn have been friends for decades. Their story runs all the way back to the years before A New Hope, when they both worked as apprentices to join the Imperial Senate. Both became involved in the Rebellion, and they've been close allies and friends ever since.
Related: Amilyn Holdo’s Backstory Explained
Again, it was Fisher who scripted the dialogue for their final goodbye. This time though, she had help; she worked closely with Laura Dern, who played the part of Holdo. Together, the two prepared a powerful scene. "So much loss," Leia observes wearily as she looks at her childhood friend. "I can't take any more." It was Dern who decided the scene's main beats. As Johnson remembered it:
"That whole Holdo scene, that goodbye scene was actually completely rewritten with Carrie and with Laura. The three of us got together and worked through it. And the real heart of that scene came from Laura. It was her saying, 'I just feel like, from my character to Leia, but also me to Carrie, I want to express what she means to me. I want to express my gratitude.'"
Again, Fisher's death has added real emotional weight to that scene. Holdo speaks for legions of Star Wars fans in expressing her gratitude to Fisher, in saying goodbye. While the scene between Luke and Leia was a final moment shared by two legends, this is one where a fan bids farewell to a woman who has inspired her. It has a power all of its own.
But the end of that scene was scripted by Fisher herself. Holdo struggles to say that classic farewell, and Leia simply says, "You go, I've said it enough." That's followed by a heartfelt moment, in which both women declare, "May the Force be with you."
The context of Fisher's death has reshaped our experience of The Last Jedi. And yet, oddly, this is a film filled with moments of farewell. It's a poignant goodbye for Fisher, presenting both Hamill and the fans an opportunity to pay their respects to this legendary actress and scriptwriter.
Reflecting on the film, Johnson noted, "I feel so lucky that her last moments in the movie, which are at the very end of the movie, are words of hope given to Rey, given to us. Yeah. God. I wish she was here to see it." In this, he most certainly speaks for us all.
Source: The Daily Beast
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017