Mark Hamill has offered his thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi's epic runtime, comparing the eighth episode of the Skywalker saga to the classic crime film, The Godfather. Director Rian Johnson has confirmed his movie clocks in at 150 minutes, making it the longest installment of the Star Wars franchise to date. The galaxy far, far away has always steered closer to two hours, but Lucasfilm felt it was necessary to break tradition this time. With all The Last Jedi has on its plate, making it more protracted than its predecessor reads as the right move. Since Johnson is now developing an all-new Star Wars trilogy, it's safe to say his approach was correct.
In this age of bloated tentpoles, some were concerned when they heard Last Jedi was going to be a lengthy affair, wondering if there would be enough plot to warrant that much movie. Pacing is the far more important element than runtime; as long as the story remains engaging and compelling throughout, a film can be 90 minutes or 190 minutes and still be successful. Fortunately, it seems like that's that's the case for the latest Star Wars, if Hamill's comments are anything to go by.
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Speaking with Vanity Fair, the actor shared his initial reaction to learning about the 2.5-hour long Last Jedi, which changed after watching the final cut:
"I was appalled when I heard that. The good news is I’ve seen it, and it’s like The Godfather. It doesn’t feel that long. And I’m really cranky. I’m one of those guys where you go see, like, a big superhero movie and you go, ‘I really love it, but it’s too long!"
It's become a common trend for modern blockbusters to be likened to Francis Ford Coppola's Oscar-winning work (similar things were said about Black Panther), but it's important to keep the context of Hamill's comments in mind. He isn't necessarily saying The Last Jedi's story draw parallels to The Godfather's sprawling narrative; it's just Episode VIII apparently earns its extensive runtime by keeping things moving as a healthy clip. On the surface, this is an apt comparison to make, considering The Godfather is just under three hours and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing, which would not have happened if it "felt long." One can only hope Star Wars 8 earns a similar reception from the general public and doesn't drag towards its conclusion.
Interestingly enough, The Last Jedi's runtime has been making headlines around the same time as Justice League, which was mandated by Warner Bros. to be under two hours. In stark contrast, Lucasfilm gave Johnson the creative freedom to tell his story as he saw fit, and while we're still a couple of weeks away from seeing out it all plays out, the early buzz is very positive. And who knows, with all the character drama that's set to unfold in the sequel, Episode VIII could very well end up being similar to The Godfather in more ways than one.
Source: Vanity Fair
- 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