Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has confirmed the film's running time to be 150 minutes, which makes it the longest installment in the series to date. Word of Episode VIII's length first became public back at the end of September when multiple theater chains posted 2 hours, 30 minutes for the movie on their site, but some felt that could have just been a placeholder until something more official was revealed. Now, we know those initial reports were spot on.
It was clear from the moment The Force Awakens ended that The Last Jedi was going to have a lot on its plate, meaning an epic runtime was warranted. Not only is it continuing the stories of youngsters Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren, Star Wars 8 is also the first "true" appearance for Luke Skywalker since 1983's Return of the Jedi and introduces a trio of new characters it will have to develop. Any filmmaker, even one as skilled as Johnson, would be hard-pressed to satisfyingly fit all that in a brisk, economic runtime, so some new ground is being broken.
Johnson confirmed the Last Jedi runtime while at a press conference for the film in France (hat tip John Hoey of Star Wars News Net). As always, this includes the end credits.
Rian Johnson has just confirmed this rumor (although it was pretty concrete at the time) that the running time for #TheLastJedi will be 150 minutes, officially making it the longest Star Wars movie ever. https://t.co/q1VpOItzsw
— John Hoey (@JohnnyHoey) November 17, 2017
Hollywood tentpole lengths became a hot discussion point recently, when it was initially revealed Justice League clocks in at just under two hours. We later learned that was a mandate on the part of Warner Bros. executives, and it may have hurt the film in the long run. One of the common criticisms of the DCEU team-up is that it did not properly develop certain aspects of the story, so perhaps it would have benefitted from extra breathing room. On that point, it's nice that Lucasfilm was willing to give Johnson the creative freedom to tell his narrative as he intended it. Obviously, the studio had to sign off on Johnson's ideas, but this will ensure The Last Jedi is the product of its helmsman - one who delivered something of high quality, considering he was given the keys to an all-new Star Wars trilogy.
The prospect of a 2.5-hour Star Wars installment may be daunting for some, but it's all about the way Johnson executes the film. Movies like The Dark Knight and The Wolf of Wall Street have protracted runtimes, but most viewers don't feel their length because the tales they tell are so engrossing and compelling, it's easy to get sucked in and enjoy the ride. Pace is what is more important than runtime. A 90-minute movie can be a drag if it isn't constructed in engaging fashion, so as long as whatever Johnson came up with requires 150 minutes to tell its story (and by all accounts, it did), there shouldn't be anything to worry about.
Source: John Hoey