Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, revealed that he did not know the plans for how Star Wars 9 (The Rise of Skywalker) was going to end while directing Star Wars 8. The revelation came in an interview with author Sariah Wilson.
This article has spoilers for Star Wars 8 and 9.
Rian Johnson Said He Didn’t Know Ben Solo’s Fate When Directing ‘Star Wars’ 8
Sariah Wilson, USA Today bestselling author, interviewed Rian Johnson and shared the most interesting parts of her interview on Twitter. Among these was Johnson revealing that he did not know Ben Solo was going to die when he directed Star Wars 8, Screenrant reported. This was because each director was given a lot of freedom in their productions, and Johnson wanted to leave J.J. Abrams with plenty of creative freedom while directing The Rise of Skywalker.
Wilson asked Johnson if he knew Ben was going to die while making The Last Jedi, and Johnson responded, “No, I did not. No.”
She continued, writing in a series of tweets:
He explained that it was very much a full hand-off between 7 and 8, just as it was from 8 to 9… Rian did his best to tee up a bunch of things and tried to bring 8 to a point where there were lots of places the story could go. He didn’t want to be unfair to the next director and leave a lot of possibilities. He wasn’t trying for a specific outcome for the end of the series, ‘But to have lots of dramatic potential’ for 9. He answered my question again by saying he didn’t know whether Kylo would live or die, then quickly corrected himself to say he didn’t know whether *Ben* would live or die, and how the series would resolve.
So in other words, it sounds like Johnson set up a lot of possibilities for the future director — intriguing possibilities that weren’t picked up. One reader commented on some of the possible outcomes in the tweet below, writing: “Wait those smash cuts “reb. reborn today” to Poe (becoming leader), “war is just beginning” cut to Finn (end war w/ST rebellion), and “…last Jedi” cut to Rey (change Jedi after failures w/Ani & Ben), shot of menacing Hux, & Ben on his knees in the ray of light were setups???”
Daisy Ridley Said There Was a Big Question About Whether or Not Rey & Ben Would Kiss
In a separate interview with Wilson, Daisy Ridley revealed that the “kiss scene” was debated and there were versions with it and without it.
Wilson revealed in a series of tweets:
Back to when I asked Daisy Ridley if there was an alternate ending to TROS, and she was telling me that it was kiss or no kiss. She was doing ADR in LA and JJ asked her if she wanted to see what they put together… For the ending and she said yes. ‘They initially used the no kiss bit. And it was still moving, I guess. But when he [JJ] said he’d put it in, I was really glad.’ … She felt like when they were filming that ‘both of us [Rey and Ben] knew it was goodbye, so it was awful, and just at the moment where everything might be okay and then it isn’t.’ She wasn’t sure where Rey & Ben’s story could have gone if he lived – she likened it to… The Graduate’s final scene. She thinks part of the beauty and heartbreak of Reylo’s story is that it ended the way it did.