Star Wars VIII's Rian Johnson talks practical effects, dealing with the pressure

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Nov 20, 2019, 6:51 PM EST (Updated)

Though we still have a while to wait until we see J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, director Rian Johnson (Looper) is already cooking up plans for the next installment. So, what’s up?

Johnson was a guest recently on the stellar Girls in Hoodies podcast, and he opened up about what it's like to direct one of the most eagerly anticipated films in modern history and how he’s dealing with the pressure. According to Johnson, he’s still in the fun phase, but that doesn’t mean the terror might not set in eventually.

Check out an excerpt from the comments below:

“Yeah, but the most surprising thing is just how not scary and how much fun … It’s boring to talk about because the only thing I can really say is I’m just happy.  But I don’t have the terror that I kind of expected I would, at least not yet.  I’m sure I will at some point … Yeah, I think that’s true [that there’s more freedom].  And coming at the time it does where we’ve – like if there’d been no Star Wars movies since Return of the Jedi, there’d be a lot more pressure, but the fact we’ve had them, we’ve had the prequels, we’ve had the TV shows, we’ve had Angry Birds Star Wars … I play it all the time!”

Though he obviously isn’t actually making Episode VIII just yet, Johnson is already thinking about the look and feel for the second installment in the new trilogy. As we’ve already gleaned from set pics and footage from Abrams’ film, it sounds like they’re definitely doubling down on practical effects — and Johnson seems to be a huge fan:

“They’re doing so much practical building for this one.  It’s awesome.  They’re doing it all right, yeah … I think people are coming back around to [practical effects], yeah, it feels like there is sort of that gravity pulling us back towards it … I think that more and more people are hitting kind of a critical mass in terms of the CG-driven action scene lending itself to a very specific type of action scene, where physics go out the window and it becomes so big so quick.  I probably sound like a grumpy old man talking about it, but the thing is, I do wonder because I think kids are growing up watching those and that’s the thing that they love now so I don’t know whether it is a generational thing, and it could be.”

Johnson makes some excellent points across the board, and you’d have to think the subpar prequel trilogy goes a long way in taking the pressure off. Plus, one of the biggest problems is that there was an over-reliance on CGI, and it seems Abrams, Johnson and the new regime are making a push for the practical sets and props that gave the original trilogy its tangible sense of awesome.

What do you think? Are the new sequels on the right track?

(Via Collider)