|Star Wars: The Last Jedi|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rian Johnson|
|Written by||Rian Johnson|
by George Lucas
|Music by||John Williams|
|Edited by||Bob Ducsay|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$1.297 billion|
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is a 2017 American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels and Gwendoline Christie in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro joining the cast. The film features the final film performance by Fisher, who died in December 2016, and it is dedicated to her memory. The plot follows Rey as she receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker, in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order.
The Last Jedi was part of a new trilogy of films announced after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It was produced by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, with Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams as an executive producer. John Williams, composer for the previous films, returned to compose the score. Scenes that required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland were filmed during pre-production in September 2015, with principal photography beginning at Pinewood Studios in England in February 2016 and ending in July 2016. Post-production wrapped in September 2017.
The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 15, 2017. It has grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2017, the 6th-highest-grossing film in North America and the 9th-highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the second-highest-grossing film of the Star Wars franchise. It received highly positive reviews from critics, who praised its ensemble cast, visual effects, musical score, action sequences and emotional weight; some considered it the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. The film received four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Original Score for Williams and Best Visual Effects. A sequel, provisionally titled Star Wars: Episode IX, is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.
The Resistance, led by General Leia Organa flee D'Qar when a First Order fleet arrives. A costly counterattack led by Poe Dameron destroys a First Order dreadnought, but after escaping to hyperspace, the First Order tracks them and attacks the Resistance convoy. Kylo Ren, Leia's son, hesitates to fire on the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother's presence, but a TIE fighter attack incapacitates Leia. Disapproving of new leader Vice Admiral Holdo's passive strategy, Poe helps Finn, BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret mission to disable the tracking device.
Meanwhile, Rey arrives on Ahch-To, with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon, to recruit Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. Disillusioned by his failure to help Kylo become a Jedi and under self-imposed exile from the Force, Luke refuses to help—even after he learns of Han Solo's death—and believes that the Jedi should become extinct. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo communicate through the Force, puzzling the two enemies. As the rival Force users learn about each other, each has future visions of themselves as partners.
R2-D2 persuades Luke to train Rey. After Kylo tells Rey about what happened between him and Luke that caused him to choose the dark side of the Force, Luke confesses that he momentarily contemplated killing Kylo upon sensing that Supreme Leader Snoke had corrupted him, causing Kylo to destroy Luke's new Jedi Order in retaliation. Convinced that Kylo can be redeemed, Rey leaves Ahch-To to confront Kylo without Luke. Luke prepares to burn down the Ahch-To Jedi temple and library, but hesitates. Yoda's ghost appears and destroys the temple, claiming Rey has all she needs to learn, and encourages Luke to learn from his failure.
Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions cowardly and risky, Poe leads a mutiny. Finn, Rose, and BB-8 travel to the Canto Bight casino and acquire the help of the hacker DJ, who says he can help them disable the tracking device. They infiltrate Snoke's ship but are captured by Captain Phasma, though BB-8 escapes. Meanwhile, Rey lands on the ship, and Kylo brings her to Snoke, who reveals that he facilitated the mental connection between her and Kylo as part of a plan to destroy Luke. Ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and with Rey defeats Snoke's guards. Rey believes that Kylo has returned to the light side of the Force but he invites her to rule the galaxy with him; Rey refuses. They use the Force to fight for possession of Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, which splits in two.
Leia recovers and stuns Poe, allowing the evacuation to begin. Holdo remains on the ship to mislead Snoke's fleet as the others flee to an abandoned Rebel Alliance base on Crait. DJ reveals the Resistance's plan to the First Order, and the evacuation transports are slowly destroyed. Holdo sacrifices herself by ramming Snoke's fleet at lightspeed; Rey escapes in the chaos, while Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Finn and Rose, who escape after defeating Captain Phasma, and join survivors on Crait. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose attack with old speeders. Rey draws the TIE fighters away with the Falcon, while Rose prevents Finn from completing a suicide run against the enemy siege cannon, which penetrates the Resistance fortress.
Luke appears and confronts the First Order so surviving Resistance members can escape. Kylo orders the First Order forces to fire on Luke to no effect, then attempts to engage Luke in a lightsaber duel. Kylo strikes Luke but realizes he has been fighting Luke's Force projection. Luke tells Kylo he will not be the last Jedi, while Rey uses the Force to help the Resistance escape on the Falcon. An exhausted Luke dies on Ahch-To, but Leia tells surviving rebels that the Resistance has all it needs to rise again. At Canto Bight, one of the children who helped Finn and Rose escape grabs a broom with the Force and gazes into space.
Joonas Suotamo appears as Chewbacca, taking over the role from Peter Mayhew after previously serving as his body double for The Force Awakens. Mayhew, who was 73 years old and suffering from chronic knee and back pain, is credited as "Chewbacca consultant." Billie Lourd, Mike Quinn, and Timothy D. Rose reprise their roles as Lieutenant Connix, Nien Nunb, and Admiral Ackbar respectively from previous films. Amanda Lawrence appears as Commander D'Acy, and Mark Lewis Jones and Adrian Edmondson play Captains Canady and Peavey respectively. BB-8 is controlled by puppeteers Dave Chapman and Brian Herring, with initial voice work by Ben Schwartz and final sound effects voiced by Bill Hader modulated through a synthesizer. Jimmy Vee portrays R2-D2. Veronica Ngo portrays Rose's sister Paige Tico, a Resistance gunner who sacrifices her life to destroy a First Order dreadnought.
Justin Theroux plays the master codebreaker, while Lily Cole plays his companion. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a voice cameo as Slowen Lo. Warwick Davis plays Wodibin. Gareth Edwards, director of the Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One, has a cameo appearance as a Resistance Soldier, as does Gary Barlow. Directors Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish also cameo in the film. Hermione Corfield appears as Tallie Lintra, a Resistance A-Wing pilot and squad leader. Noah Segan and Jamie Christopher appear as Resistance pilots Starck and Tubbs. Hamill's children, Griffin, Nathan, and Chelsea, cameo as Resistance soldiers. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry filmed cameo appearances as stormtroopers. Tom Hardy also filmed an appearance as a stormtrooper, but his cameo was ultimately dropped from the final cut. Hugh Skinner cameos as a Resistance Officer.
In October 2012, Star Wars creator George Lucas sold his production company Lucasfilm, and with it the Star Wars franchise, to The Walt Disney Company. Disney announced a new trilogy of Star Wars films. J. J. Abrams was named director of the first episode in the trilogy, The Force Awakens, in January 2013. In June 2014, director Rian Johnson was reported to be in talks to write and direct its sequel, dubbed Episode VIII, and to write a treatment for the third film, Episode IX, with Ram Bergman producing both films. Johnson confirmed in August 2014 that he would direct Episode VIII. In September, filmmaker Terry Gilliam asked Johnson about what it felt like to take over something that was made famous by another filmmaker, to which Johnson responded:
I'm just starting into it, but so far, honestly, it's the most fun I've ever had writing. It's just joyous. But also for me personally, I grew up not just watching those movies but playing with those toys, so as a little kid, the first movies I was making in my head were set in this world. A big part of it is that direct connection, almost like an automatic jacking back into childhood in a weird way. But I don't know, ask me again in a few years and we'll be able to talk about that.
The story begins immediately after the last scene of The Force Awakens. He had his story group watch films such as Twelve O'Clock High, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Gunga Din, Three Outlaw Samurai, Sahara, and Letter Never Sent for inspiration while developing ideas. He felt it was difficult to work on the film while The Force Awakens was being finished.
In December 2015, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy stated that "we haven't mapped out every single detail [of the sequel trilogy] yet". She said that Abrams was collaborating with Johnson and that Johnson would in turn work with (then) Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow to ensure a smooth transition. Abrams is an executive producer along with Jason McGatlin and Tom Karnowski. Lucasfilm announced the film's title, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, on January 23, 2017.
In September 2015, Disney shortlisted the female cast members to Gina Rodriguez, Tatiana Maslany, and Olivia Cooke. Later that month, Benicio del Toro confirmed that he would play a villain in the film, and Mark Hamill was also confirmed. In October 2015, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was rumored to have been cast in the film. In November, Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2. In November, Kennedy announced at the London premiere for The Force Awakens that the entire cast would return for Episode VIII, along with "a handful" of new cast members. In February 2016, at the start of filming, it was confirmed that Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran had been cast in unspecified roles. In April 2017, at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Lucasfilm announced that Tran plays Resistance maintenance worker Rose Tico, which Johnson described as the film's largest new role. To keep Frank Oz's return as Yoda a secret, producers excluded Oz's name in the billing for the film's marketing and ensured that Oz stayed on set during filming.
Second unit photography began during pre-production at Skellig Michael in Ireland on September 14, 2015, due to the difficulties of filming at that location during other seasons. It would have lasted four days, but filming was canceled for the first day due to poor weather and rough conditions. In November 2014, Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Studios, confirmed that the film would be shot at Pinewood, with additional filming in Mexico. In September 2015, del Toro revealed that principal photography would begin in March 2016; Kennedy later stated that filming would begin in January 2016. The production began work on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios on November 15, 2015. Rick Heinrichs served as production designer.
In January 2016, production of Episode VIII was delayed until February 2016, due to script rewrites. Additionally, filming was potentially in danger of being delayed further due to an upcoming strike between the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union. On February 10, 2016, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that principal photography had begun, under the working title Space Bear. Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from March 9 to 16, 2016, as well as in Ireland in May. Malin Head in County Donegal and a mountain headland, Ceann Sibeal in County Kerry, served as additional filming locations. To increase the scenes' intimacy Driver and Ridley were both present when filming Kylo and Rey's Force visions. Location filming for the battle scenes on the planet Crait took place in July 2016 at the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.
Principal photography wrapped on July 22, 2016, though as of early September 2016, Nyong'o had not filmed her scenes. In February 2017, it was announced that sequences from the film were shot in IMAX. Production designer Rick Heinrichs said the original screenplay called for 160 sets, double what might be expected, but that Johnson did some "trimming and cutting". Ultimately 125 sets were created on 14 sound stages at Pinewood Studios.
According to creature designer Neal Scanlan, The Last Jedi uses more practical effects than any Star Wars film, with 180 to 200 creatures created with practical effects, some cut from the final edit. For Yoda's appearance in the film as a Force ghost, the character was created using puppetry, as was done in the original Star Wars trilogy (as opposed to computer-generated imagery, which was used to create Yoda in most of the prequel trilogy).
In July 2013, Kennedy announced at Star Wars Celebration Europe that John Williams would return to score the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Williams confirmed his assignment for The Last Jedi at a Tanglewood concert in August 2016, stating he would begin recording the score "off and on" in December 2016 until March or April 2017. On February 21, 2017, it was confirmed that recording was underway, with both Williams and William Ross conducting the sessions.
In lieu of a traditional spotting session with Johnson, Williams was provided a temp track of music from his previous film scores as a reference for scoring The Last Jedi. The score briefly quotes "Aquarela do Brasil" by Ary Barroso in its "Canto Bight" track as another reference to the film Brazil. It also contains a brief quote of Williams's own theme for The Long Goodbye (co-composed by Johnny Mercer) during Finn and Rose's escape, although this quote is not heard in the official soundtrack release.
In January 2015, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that Episode VIII would be released in 2017, and in March, Lucasfilm announced a release date of May 26, 2017. In January 2016, The Last Jedi was rescheduled for December 15, 2017 in 3D and IMAX 3D. On January 23, 2017, the film's title was announced as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Similarly to The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, "Episode VIII" was included in the film's opening crawl, although not in its official title.
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A set of eight promotional postage stamps were released on October 12, 2017 in the UK by the Royal Mail with artwork by Malcolm Tween. On September 19, 2017, Australia Post released a set of stamp packs. Tie-in promotional campaigns were done with Nissan Motors and Bell Media, among others. Two main trailers were released, followed by numerous television spots. Figurines of many of the characters were released in October, and advance tickets for Last Jedi went on sale in October.
Several tie-in books were released on the same day of the North American release of the movie, including The Last Jedi: Visual Dictionary, the novelization, and various children's reading and activity books. Related novelizations included the prequel book Cobalt Squadron, and the Canto Bight, a collection of novellas about the Canto Bight Casino.
As of January 22, 2018[update], Star Wars: The Last Jedi has grossed $604.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $692.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.297 billion. It had a worldwide opening of $450.8 million, the fifth-biggest of all time, including $40.6 million that was attributed to IMAX screenings, the second biggest for IMAX. It was estimated that the film would needed to have grossed $800 million worldwide to break even.
Pre-sale tickets went on sale in the United States on October 9, 2017, and as with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, ticket service sites such as Fandango had their servers crash due to heavy traffic and demand. In the United States and Canada, industry tracking had The Last Jedi grossing around $200 million from 4,232 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $45 million from Thursday night previews, the second-highest amount ever (behind The Force Awakens' $57 million). It went on to make $104.8 million on its first day (including previews) and $220 million over the weekend, both the second-highest amounts of all time. The opening weekend figure included an IMAX opening-weekend of $25 million, the biggest IMAX opening of the year and the second biggest ever behind The Force Awakens. After dropping by 76% on its second Friday, the worst Friday-to-Friday drop in the series, the film fell by a total of 67.5% in its second weekend, grossing $71.6 million. It was the largest second-weekend drop of the franchise, although it remained atop the box office. It grossed an additional $27.5 million on Christmas day, the second biggest Christmas day gross of all time behind The Force Awakens ($49.3 million), for a four-day weekend total of $99 million. It made $52.4 million in its third weekend, again topping the box office. It also brought its domestic total to $517.1 million, overtaking fellow Disney vehicle Beauty and the Beast as the highest of 2017. It grossed $23.7 million and was dethroned the following weekend by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (which was in its third week) and newcomer Insidious: The Last Key.
In its first two days of release the film made $60.8 million from 48 markets. The top countries were the United Kingdom ($10.2 million), Germany ($6.1 million), France ($6 million), Australia ($5.6 million) and Brazil ($2.5 million). By the end of the weekend, the film made $230.8 million outside North America, the ninth-highest of all time. This included $36.7 million in the UK (third-highest), $23.6 million in Germany (second-highest), $18.1 million in France, $15.9 million in Australia (second-highest), $14.4 million in Japan, $8.5 million in Russia, $8.3 million in Spain, $7.2 million in Brazil, $7 million in Italy and Mexico, $6.0 million in Sweden and $5.1 million in South Korea. On its second weekend, it grossed $76.1 million overseas and became the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year in Europe. As of January 7, the largest markets outside of the United States and Canada are the United Kingdom ($102.9 million), Germany ($73.5 million), France ($57.6 million), Japan ($52.2 million) and Australia ($39.8 million).
The film had a $28.7 million opening weekend in China, the lowest for a Star Wars film in that country since 2005. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened to $52 million two years prior and Rogue One, which featured Chinese stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, opened to $30 million in 2016. The Last Jedi added only $7 million during the week, to reach a total of $34.2 million in its first seven days. A week after its debut, China's movie exhibitors dropped the film's showtimes by 92 percent, from its 34.5% percent share of the territory's total screenings.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has an approval rating of 90% based on 357 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga's rich legacy while adding some surprising twists—and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 85 out of 100, based on 56 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while ComScore reported audiences gave an 89% overall positive score and a 79% definite recommend. An audience poll of U.S. adults conducted by SurveyMonkey on the first four days of release found that, out of all the respondents who said they had seen the film, 89% said they either "loved" or "liked" it.
Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film four out of four stars, praising the surprises and risks that it took, writing that "The movie works equally well as an earnest adventure full of passionate heroes and villains and a meditation on sequels and franchise properties.... [The film] is preoccupied with questions of legacy, legitimacy and succession, and includes multiple debates over whether one should replicate or reject the stories and symbols of the past." Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, praising the cast and the direction: "You're in hyper-skilled hands with Johnson who makes sure you leave the multiplex feeling euphoric. The middle part of the current trilogy, The Last Jedi ranks with the very best Star Wars epics (even the pinnacle that is The Empire Strikes Back) by pointing the way ahead to a next generation of skywalkers – and, thrillingly, to a new hope."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5/4 stars, saying, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi...doesn't pack quite the same emotional punch [as The Force Awakens] and it lags a bit in the second half, [but] this is still a worthy chapter in the Star Wars franchise, popping with exciting action sequences, sprinkled with good humor and containing more than a few nifty 'callbacks' to previous characters and iconic moments." For The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy said, "Loaded with action and satisfying in the ways its loyal audience wants it to be, writer-director Rian Johnson's plunge into George Lucas' universe is generally pleasing even as it sometimes strains to find useful and/or interesting things for some of its characters to do."
Will Gompertz, arts editor of BBC News, gave the film 4/5 stars, writing "Rian Johnson ... has not ruined your Christmas with a turkey. His gift to you is a cracker, a blockbuster movie packed with invention, wit, and action galore." Mark Kermode, British film critic, gave the film 4/5 stars saying Johnson "proves himself the master of the balancing act, keeping the warring forces of this intergalactic franchise in near-perfect harmony." The unpredictability of the plot was appreciated by reviewers such as Alex Leadbeater of Screen Rant, who commented specifically that the death of Snoke was "the best movie twist in years".
Conversely, Richard Brody of The New Yorker wrote, "Despite a few stunning decorative touches (most of which involve the color red) and that brief central sequence of multiple Reys, the movie comes off as a work that's ironed out, flattened down, appallingly purified. Above all, it delivers a terrifyingly calculated consensus storytelling, an artificial universality that is achieved, in part, through express religious references." Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail gave the film 2/4 stars, saying the film suffered from too many new additions and writing, "Nifty new animals, a maturing villain, a flagging heroine, muffled humour – as it seeks to uphold a giant cultural legacy, this unfolding trilogy struggles to maintain a balance that often seems just out of reach."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||March 4, 2018||Best Original Score||John Williams||Pending|||
|Best Sound Editing||Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce||Pending|
|Best Sound Mixing||David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson||Pending|
|Best Visual Effects||Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould||Pending|
|British Academy Film Awards||February 18, 2018||Best Sound||Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood||Pending|||
|Best Special Visual Effects||Stephen Alpin, Chris Courbould, Ben Morris, Neal Scanlan||Pending|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||February 13, 2018||Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature||Ben Morris, Tim Keene, Eddie Pasquarello, Daniel Seddon, Chris Corbould||Pending|||
|Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project||Cameron Nielsen, Albert Cheng, John Levin, Johanes Kurnia for "Crait Surface Battle"||Pending|
|Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature||Peter Kyme, Miguel Perez Senet, Ahmed Gharraph, Billy Copley for "Bombing Run"||Pending|
|Mihai Cioroba, Ryoji Fujita, Jiyong Shin, Dan Finnegan for "Mega Destroyer Destruction"||Pending|
Episode IX, the final installment of the sequel trilogy, is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019. Principal photography is set to begin in June 2018. Although Colin Trevorrow had been attached to direct the film, on September 5, 2017, Lucasfilm announced that Trevorrow had stepped down. A week later, Lucasfilm announced that J. J. Abrams would return to direct Episode IX and co-write it with Chris Terrio. Abrams and Terrio stated that Episode IX will bring together all three trilogies, with elements from the previous two films.
Also, writer/director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII — to follow J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, out December 18 — is now scheduled to arrive on the big screen May 26, 2017.
Star Wars: Episode VIII will indeed be directed by Rian Johnson (Looper) and will be released on May 26, 2017, or around the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars.
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