Rian Johnson on Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma & more in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Kylo Ren Captain Phasma Rian Johnson

Quite a lot has changed for the First Order following the events of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS; sure, they were able to destroy the Republic capital and a large portion of its fleet, but they also lost Starkiller base to the Resistance, with the added humiliation of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) being shoved into a trash compactor and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) being defeating by a scavenger girl (Daisy Ridley). When STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI picks up, both characters will still be feeling the sting of defeat and are seeking vengeance against the Resistance.

As for Kylo Ren, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI writer/director Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly that he's "definitely been knocked off base," adding that "his huge defining act which, spoiler alert, is the murder of his father… that’s the more interesting thing to dive into. How has he dealt with that in his head? Where is he at in terms of that act and what does that mean for him?" Johnson said that Kylo Ren's turn to darkness is symbolic of "the treacherous road through adolescence," and that Kylo "represents kind of the rebellious anger that you feel during that period. Honestly, sometimes it’s a healthy desire to push away from the place that you know, from the things that you came from. But he obviously does it in an extreme that’s not healthy at all." His murder of his own father also robbed Rey (Daisy Ridley) of a potential father-figure as well, which Ridley says makes her grudge against the man formally known as Ben Solo all the more powerful.

She just doesn’t understand Kylo. When all she wanted was parents, why would a person who has parents do that? It’s so beyond comprehension, it’s ridiculous. So she has grief for the loss and then there’s anger. To be honest, she couldn’t understand doing something like that – let alone to your parents.

As for Captain Phasma, I think it's safe to say the character wound up being somewhat of a disappointment in THE FORCE AWAKENS, but Rian Johnson says that we'll be seeing much more of her in THE LAST JEDI. "Gwendoline Christie is one of my favorite people, and you get to see her in action which I think is going to be really fun," Johnson says. "That character is just so damn cool looking. Like, okay, let’s see what we can do with her. Let’s put her in action and see what happens." It'd be a damn shame if the character was wasted once again, so let's just hope it pays off.

As for characters on the other side of the conflict, Johnson states that Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) will be suffering from the loss of his best friend, and that we may see a more volatile side of the character as a result. "Chewie’s doing all right. It’s tough. It was obviously a big loss for him, but, you know, he’s Chewie. He’s resilient," Johnson says. "He’s got broad Wookiee shoulders, and he also has a new mission. He’s got Rey, and she’s someone that Han, to a certain extent, handed the keys to. So I think that that helps." We'll also be seeing more of Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) in THE LAST JEDI, but not quite as much as before. Rian Johnson says that although her part may be smaller than the one she had in THE FORCE AWAKENS, it's a "really fun part, and Lupita is so awesome. I’m just happy I got to work with her."

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI will hit theaters on December 15, 2017.



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