Rian Johnson Discusses the Use of The Force and its Evolution in THE LAST JEDI

Rian Johnson is being asked for a million explanations now that Star Wars: The Last Jedi has come to theaters. In a recent interview with the LA Times, he was asked some questions about how the Force was used in the movie. I don’t think I should have to say it at this point, but SPOILERS are ahead! Read only if you’ve seen the movie or don’t care about spoilers.

Some fans are complaining about some of the things people are able to do with the Force in The Last Jedi. However, Johnson addresses a lot of the items that fans are struggling with so we’re going to do our best to break this down. After all, doesn't the man deserve to have his voice be heard?

What’s up with this Force connection Snoke created for Rey and Kylo? I actually don’t have a huge problem with it since we get a hint of something similar at the end of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back between Luke and Darth Vader, not to mention that a Force connection is a huge part of both Knights of the Old Republic games. Here’s what Johnson had to say about why it’s in this film:

It was always through the demands of the story. With the Force connections between Rey and Kylo I thought, “OK, I need to get these two talking. But if I put them face to face they’re going to either fight, or one of them has to be tied up”
...So I knew I wanted them to talk, and to talk enough to where we could go from “I hate you,” to her being forced to actually engage with him. That’s where the idea of these “Force connections” came from, which is kind of a new thing. It’s a little bit of a riff on what happens with Vader and Luke at the end of “The Empire Strikes Back,” but it’s entirely new in some regards.

Can a Force ghost really interact with the real world? I say why not. Johnson’s response was the following:

The one point where we do introduce a bit of a twist in terms of Force ghosts is where Yoda calls down the lightning onto the tree. That, I think, is a tantalizing hint of the potential of someone who is a Force ghost interacting with the real world.

Now we’re getting to the big ones. You can’t use the Force to project yourself lightyears away! Well, why not? If a Force connection can do it between two people, why couldn’t a more trained Jedi do that on a larger scale? In other words:

That’s a question. When Luke shows up he’s projecting, it’s like a hardcore variation of what Kylo and Rey have been doing the whole time and that’s why it takes so much out of him. In the version that we play, no. We tried to play really, really fair. In terms of his footsteps – we removed all of his foley — there are no footstep sounds. They never touch. And if you look, the salt flakes that are falling are sparking off of Kylo’s saber and not off of Luke’s.

This last one left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for a while after watching the movie. “The Force can’t protect you from the vacuum of space,” you say. At 2 AM last Friday I would’ve agreed with you. However, what is Johnson’s explanation for this bold move?

That was something Kathy [Kennedy] was always asking: Why has this never manifested in Leia? She obviously made a choice, because in “Return of the Jedi” Luke tells her, “You have that power too.” I liked the idea that it’s not Luke concentrating, reaching for the lightsaber; it’s an instinctual survival thing, like when you hear stories of a parent whose toddler is caught under a car and they get superhuman strength, or a drowning person clawing their way to the surface. It’s basically just her not being done with the fight yet.

I wanted it to happen [for Carrie] and I knew it was going to be a stretch. It’s a big moment, and I’m sure it will land different ways for different people, but for me it felt like a really emotionally satisfying thing to see.

I think these are all fair points. Even if you don’t agree with the choices, I think we  should consider something Johnson said early on in the interview:

The truth is, because “Star Wars” until “The Force Awakens” has been set in amber and we hadn’t had a new “Star Wars” movie in 10 years, you forget that they were introducing new Force stuff with each movie, based on the requirements of the story. Force-grabbing didn’t come around until “Empire,” it wasn’t in “A New Hope.” Same with Force ghosts. They’d introduce new ideas of what could happen with the Force each time.

Do these explanations help ease your minds? Do you have a better explanation? The rest of the interview offers more insight, such as info on Han’s dice, and Snoke so go give it a read.

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