Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson reveals a fan-favorite arc of the Clone Wars animated series inspired his script. Even though the film came out in theaters about nine months ago, the dust has yet to truly settle on the polarizing debates it generated. Johnson made several bold creative choices with Episode VIII, some of which rubbed fans the wrong way as they deconstructed the franchise's rich mythology and challenged what a Star Wars movie could be. In many respects, The Last Jedi was a radical departure from what had come before.
In the aftermath, the most vocal Last Jedi detractors criticized Johnson of failing to understand Star Wars and "ruining" it, but the filmmaker was a very astute student of the property while penning his screenplay. He took several cues from the previous films, as well as integrating elements (like astral projection via the Force) that had precedence in Legends publications. In addition to all that, Johnson was also influenced by one of the most noteworthy arcs on Clone Wars.
On Twitter, Johnson responded to a follower's question about his thoughts on the Mortis arc and how those episodes could connect to the films. You can see his response in the space below:
For those unfamiliar, the Mortis arc took place over the course of three episodes in season 3 of Clone Wars. While on a mission at the edge of the Unknown Regions, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka examine a distress call and after a flash of light, they find themselves on a mysterious planet. The trio discovers the world is basically a nexus of the Force controlled by three Force wielders: The Son (darkness), The Daughter (light), and The Father (balance between the two). The Father is dying and is afraid of what will happen if there's nobody to keep The Son and Daughter in check. While Johnson doesn't say exactly what he took away from the Mortis arc (though he does mention stunning visuals), it's easy to see ties between this arc and Last Jedi. Specifically in Luke's first lesson to Rey, the audience learns the Force does not belong to the Jedi, and that a balance between the two sides is more important to maintain than one winning out. The films alway presented a more binary understanding of the Force, with a clear battle between good and evil, but canon has now tried to expand the concept. There are also visual similarities between Mortis and Ahch-To.
With Clone Wars returning for another season, it'll be interesting to see if the show inspires anything else in the upcoming Star Wars films. Johnson, once he completes his mystery film Knives Out, will move forward on an all-new movie trilogy that's completely separate from the Skywalker saga. The sky is very much the limit with what he can come up with, and drawing from Clone Wars certainly wouldn't hurt as he maps out the story. David Benioff & D.B. Weiss are also developing their own series that should help the franchise grow, so fans may get more outside-the-box aspects in the near future.
Source: Rian Johnson
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019