Rian Johnson calls Carrie Fisher's work in The Last Jedi 'inspiring'

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Dec 17, 2018, 6:00 PM EST (Updated)

The filmmaker behind Star Wars: Episode VIII has nothing but praise for our beloved General Leia.

The new trailer for The Last Jedi that dropped last night features a scene in which we see Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) targeting and seemingly about to blast the ship carrying his mother, Leia. It's a tense and highly charged moment, and just seeing Fisher in the footage can't help but bring out an equally emotional response in viewers as well, some 10 months after her death.

Speaking to Yahoo! in an interview coinciding with the release of the new trailer, The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson called Fisher one of his "heroes" and went on to describe how Fisher took great care to keep Leia true to the character as she was first envisioned 40 years ago:

"She was so conscious of the place that Leia had, not just broadly in the culture, but very specifically in terms of girls who grew up watching Star Wars when Leia was the only female hero on the screen. She really wanted to do right by that, drawing the character forward. That was something that she would always be pulling us back to."

Johnson, like so many of Fisher's co-stars (see here, here, and here), was thrilled to work alongside the actress:

"For me it was fantastic, because besides all the other benefits of having a fantastic writer like Carrie there by my side while we’re making this movie, just having a voice that was like a compass needle that would always pull it back in the right direction of, 'This is what this character means and this is what we always have to make sure that she’s serving, with her strength and also with her weaknesses' — showing a fully realized character who is going to be inspiring to the folks who grew up with Leia.”

Johnson, naturally, doesn't delve into spoiler territory in the interview -- he's hesitant to even say which scenes were shot in IMAX, since he would then have to describe the scenes -- and admits that he actually called a lot of the shots in terms of what could be shown to the public before the movie's release:

“A year ago, maybe even more than that, my producer Ram [Bergman] and I sat down with the folks at Lucasfilm and said, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to reveal here and there, and this stuff we’re never going to reveal until the movie comes out.’ We came up with a ‘no-fly list’ of, under no circumstances is this shown or that shown. It is a fascinating process. It’s something that for me, just having been a fan my whole life, suddenly being behind the curtain and seeing how it works and seeing how deliberate it is, has been really fascinating.”

The rest of us will have to wait a little over two months before we learn Leia's fate and find out what else is behind the curtain of The Last Jedi, but admit it, don't you want to go in as cold as possible and be surprised?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters December 15.

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