This trip was sponsored by Disney. This does not affect my opinions and they are 100% my own. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is only a day away from opening. I am so excited to see it. While I was in LA for the Star Wars press junket we did so many things, and I can’t wait to share them all with you. I have already posted about the fab STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event experience as well as our Disneyland Holiday Visit + the updated Star Tours – The Adventure Continues ride. If you haven’t read those yet – be sure to check them out and see all of the fun pictures! We shared our interviews with Laura Dern interview about her role as “Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo” and Gwendoline Christie as “Captain Phasma”.
As they walked in I was just taking it all in. Later, as I was looking through these pictures, I was so excited that I didn’t have my camera over my face. I am in the bottom left hand corner. Eek!
The Star Wars: The Last Jedi press conference was so fun! We were graceed with the presence of Mark Hamill (“Luke Skywalker”), Daisy Ridley (“Rey”), John Boyega (“Finn”), Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”), Adam Driver(“Kylo Ren”), Domhnall Gleeson (“General Hux”), Gwendoline Christie (“Captain Phasma”), Andy Serkis (“Supreme Leader Snoke”), Laura Dern (“Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”), Kelly Marie Tran (“Rose Tico”) and Director Rian Johnson. I have picked out some of my favorite Q/A’s from them and have shared them with you below. I hope this gives you some insight to the movie and gets you even more excited to see it (potentially tomorrow night) or sometime soon!
Mark Hamill (“Luke Skywalker”)
Mark, having played the young farm boy who becomes a hero and now returning to that character all these years later, what journey, without obviously giving it away, but what arc is left for a guy who’s been through what Luke Skywalker has been through?
MARK HAMILL: I don’t think any line in the script epitomized my reaction more than this is not going to go the way you think. And Rian pushed me out of my comfort zone, as if I weren’t as intimidated and terrified, to begin with, but I’m grateful, because you have to trust someone and he was the only Obi Wan available to me, not only in my choices as an actor, but my choices in sock wear. Because – well, I was so embarrassed. I looked at my drab black socks and I said, curse you, Rian Johnson, I’ll get my revenge.
RIAN JOHNSON: You have learned well, young padawan.
Daisy Ridley (“Rey”)
Obviously, the death of Han Solo is a huge moment in The Force Awakens, and I’m wondering how impactful is that, without spoiling anything, to the characters who knew him in the last movie and the previous films?
DAISY RIDLEY: I think this is the beauty of having storylines that are sort of happening in tandem and affecting each other, ‘cause I would say that Rey at least is very much affected by it, and I think like in the What did I say? What did I do? In the first – like, Rey, as a character has been alone for a really long time and she’s really open to like love and friendship, so Finn and BB-8 come along and it’s like this amazing adventure. And then Han, like without trying to, she seeks something from him because there’s an intimacy and there’s a sort of figure of something she’s never dreamed of for her, that gets and she’s understanding everything’s new to her, so she’s understanding things in a different way, and luckily for me, ‘cause I was trying to get to grips with everything going on, and then Rey’s trying to get to grips with everything going on. So for Rey at least there is some time. Everything’s moving forward but she has some time to ask questions and wonder what it is that would have led someone to do something like that, and also how that directly affects the world around her, and then she’s worried about Finn at home, so I would say she’s maybe a little more affected, at least emotionally on screen than the others.
John Boyega (“Finn”)
From The Force Awakens, how would you say this film feels differently?
JOHN BOYEGA: I just think the story’s moving forward. I just feel like J.J. had a blueprint, a foundation of Force Awakens that was pretty good and now it’s about moving forward with the story and just challenging the characters and then all the characters are under intense pressure, and so it’s a time which everyone has their own specific reckoning, and it’s all different. It’s like a lot going on. I’ve only watched it once and the first thing is that I want to watch it again because of the amount of information and Easter eggs in there as well.
Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”)
From The Force Awakens, how would you say this film feels differently?
OSCAR ISAAC: Often with the second chapter in a story of three, because the first one kind of sets the tone and the world and the new characters, introduced them, in the second one you don’t have to spend so much time doing that, you can really just delve into the story, into what’s happening, like John said, to the conflict of each of the characters. I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s challenged deeply every single character, including the droids, you know, with like the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, and that’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark. You know, it’s like he’s found a way to get to the central point of that character and try to challenge them as best as he can. I think it’s really amazing what he’s done.
Adam Driver(“Kylo Ren”)
Hux and Kylo Ren, had a really interesting relationship in The Force Awakens that I understand is expanded on in this movie, where Snoke sort of plays them against each other, they’re allies but not really. I wondered if you could talk about their bond or lack thereof, as we enter this film.
ADAM DRIVER: I think it’s definitely there’s a competition and it’s maybe yet to be discovered where that comes from. If anything I think that’s more of a testament to what everyone has been saying of Rian’s inability to not mind a character in every moment, which seems like an obvious thing, but he doesn’t so he knows that spectacle, it won’t mean anything if you don’t care about anything that’s going on, which again, seems very obvious but I think it’s a really hard thing to balance with this many moving parts in the scale of something like this. So I love playing those scenes, especially with Domhnall, ‘cause he’s a great actor and nothing is kind of taken for granted where, you know, oh, this happens and it moves on. If anything, Rian slows the pace and there’s not a moment that’s taken for granted. It’s always broken up into little pieces and the story in our mind comes first before an explosion.
Domhnall Gleeson (“General Hux”)
Hux and Kylo Ren, had a really interesting relationship in The Force Awakens that I understand are expanded on in this movie, where Snoke sort of plays them against each other, they’re allies but not really. I wondered if you two could talk about their bond or lack thereof, as we enter this film.
DOMHzALL GLEESON: I think it’s funny,here’s just such a huge amount of drama going on in that group of people but then also just a huge amount of fighting as well, which I think is really fun to see them kind of really hurt each other from the inside as well as from the outside, you know, the united front thing is difficult for them sometimes. I think, it’s such a privilege to be in the film.
Gwendoline Christie (“Captain Phasma”)
So there are way more female characters in this move, certainly in the first three movies. That’s going to mean a lot to little girls. I want to know what it means to you guys.
GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE: I was so delighted. I wasn’t cast in the first Star Wars film yet when I heard about the casting, and I was utterly delighted to see that there was a more representative selection of actors that were going to be in these incredible Star Wars films, and that has continued. You get to see women that are not being strong just because they’re acting like men. They’re doing something else. And also you’re seeing a developed character or at least a developing character, that’s showing some complex character traits. And I’m just delighted about that. I’m delighted that something as legendary as Star Wars has decided to be modern and to reflect our society more as it is.
Andy Serkis (“Supreme Leader Snoke”)
How would you say this film feels different from The Force Awakens? What sets it apart from that film?
ANDY SERKIS: I was blown away when I saw the movie. I just was so caught up with it, not least because it was really intimate and very emotional and I wasn’t expecting that at all. I mean, I know obviously that it was going to go that way, but it was very, very powerful and it touches you and what Rian’s done incredibly is make this dance between these great epic moments and hilarious antics, literally flipping on a dime and then going right into the heart of these beautiful characters, and you really caring. And I think that was, for me, my takeaway, it was just an extraordinary viewing.
Laura Dern (“Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”)
Well, we don’t know a whole lot about Admiral Holdo, but we know she’s kind of the new boss. She’s a new leader in the resistance. Is there a little bit of you in Admiral Holdo?
LAURA DERN: Very much so.
RIAN JOHNSON: Laura, it’s a dream just to get to work with her. And the character that she plays in all of its glorious purple-haired wonder, we were really able to dig in and do some really exciting, fun stuff. And Laura, I know that like the moments on set where like suddenly you would like catch my eye and you would say, this feels like we’re making an independent film, like those were the moments that I was like, yeah, it kind of does, and I think that feels really good and that kind of intimacy of the process, I think. I don’t know. If Laura Dern’s telling you that, then you might be on the right track, I guess.
ANTHONY BREZNICAN: Laura I know you’re there to do a job and be professional but is there any part of you that geeks out a little bit when you start working on a Star Wars film?
LAURA DERN: Every part. And just to add to that, what Rian spoke to, that he does so beautifully as well as Andy was describing the intimacy of discovering each character’s conflict, which is just extraordinary, given the enormity of the cast, that he gave us that in the experience of the workplace, and it was shocking, and Oscar and I always talked about just how stunned we were that we were in such a massive environment and did feel like we were making an indie movie and you were always encouraging us to try things and explore character, and explore this duality of the light and the dark within characters, the movie speaks to so beautifully, not just that there are alternative universes but that that lies within, which seems to be the place that George Lucas first started the mythology of that, and it’s just so brilliant. And a group of us sitting together watching it for the first time was amazing ‘cause it was like we were with 3,000 people. We were screaming, standing up, crying.
Kelly Marie Tran (“Rose Tico”)
Do you have any thoughts on the impact of Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia?
KELLY MARIE TRAN: Something about Carrie that I really look up to is, and something I didn’t realize until recently, was just how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform or when possibly a lot of people will be looking at you, and you she was so unapologetic and so openly herself and that is something that I am really trying to do, and it’s hard. I think that she will always be an icon as Leia but also as Carrie. What an example, you know? And I am so fortunate to have met her and I think that she will really live on forever.
Director Rian Johnson
So Rian, what would you say differentiates The Last Jedi from The Force Awakens, but also the Empire Strikes Back as a second chapter in a trilogy?
RIAN JOHNSON: It’s a second movie in the trilogy and I think we’ve been kind of trained to expect it’ll be a little darker and obviously it looks a little darker and the thing is though for me I loved the tone of the original films and also that J.J. captured in The Force Awakens of fun, and that’s like to me it’s a Star Wars movie, you know, first and foremost we were trying to make it feel like a Star Wars movie. And that means you have the intensity and you’ve got the opera, but it also means that it makes you come out of the theater wanting to run in your backyard, grab your spaceship toys and make them fly around, you know, and that’s a key ingredient to it. So we’re going to go to some intense places in the movie but I hope also it’s fun, it’s funny.
There was so much great information shared during the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press conference, and I have enjoyed reading it a few times. These actors are so passionate about their characters and I know that is just one of the elements that make the movies as fantastic as they are. This was such a fun treat – I have never been to a press conference like this before and I really enjoyed it!
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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theatres everywhere December 15th!