When Rian Johnson was first announced as the writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many casual fans didn't know who he was. Cinema-goers at large knew him from films such as Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and the time-bending Looper, but those somewhat intimate films are of a much different scope than the gargantuan world of Star Wars. Who was this man? Well, his films speak for themselves, but he also had an even more direct way of introducing himself: Twitter.
He used the site to tweet news, he used it to debunk and/or confirm rumors, but the one thing that he has repeatedly used it for it for is to show everyone that he is much in love with the world of Star Wars as we are. His tweets display the excitement and gratitude that he often shows in real life, like when he stayed up all night and greeted every single fan who was camping out for the Last Jedi panel at this past year's Star Wars Celebration.
When he confirmed his involvement in what was then just called "Episode VII" in August of 2014, he was not yet on Twitter. He wouldn't join until 2015, but once he did, he quickly established himself as a Force to be reckoned with, pun fully intended. Let's take a look at all of the different ways that Johnson has tweeted his way into our hearts, proving all the while that his midi-chlorian count is off the charts.
He's fun. It can be easy to take Twitter too seriously, but Johnson always has fun with it. Though he landed a dream job, there's no need to be so proper all the time, as evidenced by his continued postings of original Jar-Jar artwork that he is continually being sent.
He knows his film history. Not only does he know it, he relishes it. His tweets display a wide breadth of knowledge, as well as an eagerness to learn more. His passions are diverse, and he gets excited about all of it — something that will come up again in a bit. Whether it's a new book about the career of Orson Welles, or a new episode of the historical podcast You Must Remember This, Johnson is always looking to soak up as much knowledge as he can.
He has great reverence for other filmmakers. Going hand in hand with the above, Johnson's tweets often show how much he loves movies. He doesn't just watch them once — if he is passionate about a film, he'll revisit it often. He must unlock the secrets!
His excitement about the job is palpable. Johnson never, ever refrains from gushing about the job he's been given. He is living the dream, and occasionally dream logic finds it's way into his tweets.
He gets the weirdness and fun of Star Wars. Yes, many fans prefer their Star Wars to be all Empire-styled doom and gloom, but at it's heart the franchise has always been weird and fun. As George Lucas recently pointed out, the movies are for kids — and Johnson seems like a kid at heart when he tweets from the set.
If he likes a bit, he really runs with it.
He'll share the occasional sneak peek. He never shows anything spoilery, but every now and then he'll just tweet a simple image, reminding everyone that the film is coming. Sometimes it's just some film lights in front of a St. Patrick's Day decoration, but other times there is something with slightly more substance.
He supports his fellow Star Wars filmmakers, and other filmmakers in general. As stated above, the man clearly loves what he does. What he doesn't seem to worry about is competition. In his view, if one filmmaker succeeds, they all succeed. He wants more excellent films in the world, regardless of whether they are coming from him or not. He loves to celebrate Edgar Wright, but was also quick to applaud Rogue One director Gareth Edwards during Rogue One's publicity run up.
He makes fun of himself. He is hardly a director with a "holier than thou" attitude. Nobody is harder on him than he is on himself, and if he is being mocked on twitter, he's usually doing it himself.
He's good at celebrating Star Wars Day. Otherwise known as "May the Fourth," if you are the director of a new SW movie it helps to have a little fun (and tease fans) on the holiday that seems to get more exposure every year.
He gets excited about swag. If it's on a crew jacket, it must be real. We would all be excited about this too. Be honest.
He participates in memes. Not all memes are a force for good, but when he decides to participate, he usually involves Star Wars in a hilarious way. This is yet another example of his teasing and general "pigtail pulling" of the SW fandom.
He's not afraid to outright debunk certain rumors. If it involves falsely getting a SW fan's hopes up, Johnson is there to help. His name is Rian Johnson, he's here to rescue you.
He gives his cast a lot of love. Whether it's celebrating non-tweeter Oscar Isaac's birthday, raving about John Boyega's upcoming film, or just tweeting something like the following, the love between director and cast is real.
He really geeks out. We've kind of already covered this, but seriously...he REALLY geeks out sometimes. He loves every part of filmmaking, right down to the slates that are used before takes. He marked the final shots of the movie with this tweet tribute duet.
It bears repeating, he can be silly. Even when sitting in the office of his Star Wars overlords, silliness always finds a way.
This is just a really good tweet. It's not related to Star Wars at all, but if you're an Alison Pill fan, you'll enjoy it.
He makes the big info drops feel personal. Whether it's a title reveal, a making-of video, or a new trailer, Johnson always posts the information with a personal touch.
He knows his Star Wars history. Sure, he knows film history in general, but the man knows his Star Wars backwards and forwards. He doesn't just know that the Mos Eisley Hammerhead is actually an Ithorian, either-- he knows the nuts and bolts facts on the technical side, as evidenced by the following poll (and results) that he tweeted, fully engaging with fans the whole time.
His Vanity Fair response. It's almost legendary now, but the moment that cemented Johnson as a world-class tweeter came after the title reveal. Vanity Fair joined in with the debate about the title that launched a million think pieces, adding their voices to the masses asking "who is the last jedi?" Johnson didn't waste any time putting the matter to rest.
His excitement over the full trailer. Days before the full trailer's release, Johnson had tweeted that if fans wanted to go in completely cold, then they should avoid watching it. He held to this right until the last minute, until he couldn't take it any longer and just told us all to go for it. Go for it we did.
He's in this for the fans. As evidenced below, it's the approval of the fans that matters most to him.
He's not going anywhere. After news broke about Johnson creating an entirely new Star Wars trilogy, he naturally tweeted the following:
Johnson's tweets don't just get you excited for the film. They don't just show him as a film geek who is so excited to be doing what he is doing, and they don't just show him as a kind and considerate person. They show that he is, more than anything else, a fan. Rian Johnson is one of us.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15.