Rian Johnson Explains Force Ghosts in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead


Rian Johson explains how the Force works in his written and directed Star Wars project, The Last Jedi. Episode VIII is doing more than okay in terms of box office numbers, pocketing a total of $220 million domestic and $450 million worldwide. But conversation surrounding the movie continues with the massive fan community of the franchise having different opinion on the newest saga entry.

Looking at the film's Rotten Tomatoes profile, it's safe to say that The Last Jedi is already a divisive movie. Some loved that it took a chance to expand the lore, while others are bummed it deviated too much from the things the previous films established. It arguably did not follow through on a lot of what was set up to presumably be the narrative cornerstones of the sequel trilogy in The Force Awakens. And just when you think you already know what will happen next, it goes in a totally different direction. One of the bigger gripes that naysayers cite is Johnson's introduction of new elements to how the Force actually works. For instance, Luke's ability to project himself is deemed as a controversial move since that's never been seen onscreen before.

RELATED: Rian Johnson Says J.J. Abrams Liked His Pitch for The Last Jedi

Sitting down with the LA Times, Johnson addressed this criticism by establishing that looking back in the previous movies, there is actually no set guidelines as to how the Force works. In fact, the saga installment reveals something new about it as we go along:

The truth is, because “Star Wars” until “The Force Awakens” has been set in amber and we hadn’t had a new “Star Wars” movie in 10 years, you forget that they were introducing new Force stuff with each movie, based on the requirements of the story. Force-grabbing didn’t come around until “Empire,” it wasn’t in “A New Hope.” Same with Force ghosts. They’d introduce new ideas of what could happen with the Force each time.

The one point where we do introduce a bit of a twist in terms of Force ghosts is where Yoda calls down the lightning onto the tree. That, I think, is a tantalizing hint of the potential of someone who is a Force ghost interacting with the real world.

Considering both the Jedi and Sith can tap into the Force and use it to their advantage, Johnson was asked whether the dead dark side users can also return via Force Ghost much like the Jedi can. The director's answer rounds back to his earlier comment about Force abilities continue to develop and we learn more about it in every Star Wars movie.

I think that would be interesting. We haven’t seen them in the movies as far as I can remember. But that would be really interesting considering the dark side is about self-preservation, trying to find immortality, and the notion that the light side actually got to it through selflessness — what would the dark side version of that look like? There’s so much cool [stuff] to think about if you’re willing to open your head a little bit!

There were a lot of lore and narrative elements that Johnson introduced in The Last Jedi. This has disquieted a lot of fans who have concocted a specific way on how these movies should go based on what we have seen before. But as like Episode VIII's recurring theme, the movie is a point where we leave everything that we thought we know about Star Wars behind to make room for new adventures. Only this way will we be able to progress the story and sustain the franchise without retreading the same story over and over.

MORE: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is Better Than Force Awakens, But Not Empire

Source: LA Times

Key Release Dates
  • 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: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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