Sunday, July 16, 2017

Watch: New behind-the-scenes look at Rian Johnson's 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

After what was probably the most disappointing year for mainstream action cinema in my lifetime, 2017 has roared back with a vengeance. It has not only been an impressive summer for blockbusters, it has been an outstanding year on the whole. Chad Stahelski's John Wick: Chapter Two and James Mangold's Logan brought life to the doldrums of the early months of the year, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant made May a great time at the movies, and the big-budget films have continued to impress as the summer has marched on. Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman shocked everyone, Baby Driver brought Edgar Wright's talents to a whole new audience, and War for the Planet of the Apes sent my jaw to the floor. And we haven't even seen the biggest movie of the year yet. That's right, folks, even after all of these great blockbusters, we're still five months away from the Holy Grail of 2017- Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We saw a trailer for the film back in April, but word has been quiet since then. The Star Wars narrative was overtaken by the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and it seemed like hype had been muted for Last Jedi. But with D23 this weekend, Lucasfilm and Disney took the chance to release a behind-the-scenes featurette for the film, which is the best piece of marketing yet. Take a look!

The main complaint about this new run of Star Wars films has been a simple one- it's too much of the same. While The Force Awakens was acclaimed for breathing new life into the franchise, it was also lambasted for having the exact same plot as the original film. And despite receiving praise for its grittier, darker direction, Rogue One still relied heavily on nostalgia and previously used elements. I say all this because it appears that The Last Jedi is going to break this trend. Rian Johnson is a very solid director who has taken an imaginative approach to genres like noir and sci-fi in the past, so the idea of him doing a Star Wars movie is tantalizing. And judging by this behind-the-scenes featurette, it looks like he has pulled off something that is visually distinct and fresh, something that won't merely be a copy of The Empire Strikes Back. J.J. Abrams laid the groundwork two years ago, and now it's time for Johnson to take these characters in a new direction. With Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy being so set on her vision for the Star Wars franchise, I've grown worried that we're just gonna get more of the same. But The Last Jedi looks narratively and visually unique and thrilling, and I can't say enough about how much this clip impressed me. Consider me excited.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15.

Poster: Bleeding Cool

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