Sooner or later, every hero has to grow up. That was the unspoken theme of the night for The Last Jedi's Rian Johnson, who attended a SXSW panel to promote The Director and the Jedi. The documentary film, directed by Anthony Monke, follows the filming of the latest Star Wars movie, and screened at the Austin festival on Monday morning.
Johnson's discussion with Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson was crashed by none other than the Jedi himself, Mark Hamill, and the two got to talking about The Last Jedi, shedding a little light on their initial diverging opinions, and early discussions regarding Luke's character heading into production. Hamill had envisioned a Luke more reminiscent of the original trilogy, while Johnson shared that a certain amount of character evolution was going to be necessary, given the passage of time — and using myth to illustrate his mindset.
"If you look at any classic hero's myth that is actually worth its salt, at the beginning of the hero's journey, like with King Arthur, he pulls the sword from the stone and he's ascendant — he has setbacks, but he unites all the kingdoms," Johnson said. "But then if you keep reading, when it deals with the hero's life as they get into middle age and beyond, it always starts to get into darker places. And there’s a reason for that: It’s because myths are not made to sell action figures; myths are made to reflect the most difficult transitions we go through in life."
As you'll recall, Hamill made headlines last year when he admitted in a press junket interview for The Last Jedi that he and Johnson had "a fundamental difference" regarding his character -- adding that it wasn't "[his] Luke Skywalker." Hamill would go on to walk back his initial words via his Twitter account, and at the SXSW panel he was still holding a more conciliatory opinion on the subject. “I wish I hadn’t expressed my insecurities publicly,” he said.
Over the course of filming, Hamill said that Johnson had left him with the understanding that "they can’t always give the audience what they expect and what they want," but that they "can give them something they don’t expect and what we want." And according to Hamill: "He's always right."
(via The Hollywood Reporter)