The pair begins the SXSW Featured Session looking at Johnson’s filmmaking career from his first feature film, Brick, which was received to both critical and audience acclaim, to other features like Brother’s Bloom and Looper, as well as the episodes he directed for AMC’s wildly popular series, Breaking Bad.
“When your whole creative world as a little kid is enveloped in this one universe, of Star Wars, and the first stories you’re telling in your head are in that universe, it kind of jacks into something very primal.” – Rian Johnson
Earlier that day, the SXSW Film Festival world premiered the documentary The Director and the Jedi, an intimate portrait of Johnson and the entire cast and crew coming together to make the latest Star Wars tale. “Ram [Bergman] and I said from the start, we don’t want to have B-roll cut with talking heads, promo for the movie type of documentary, ” said Johnson. “If we are going to go through this experience let’s get a documentary filmmaker, let’s actually get someone in there who is going to have some perspective, and who is going to dig through the process. We found Anthony Wonke, who came in and he’s a very good documentary director, and we gave him full access.”
Halfway through the session, fans were treated to a special appearance by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. “It’s great for the incredible talent behind-the-scenes to get their due credit. Because of the episodic nature of the film, I had a lot of time off and I would just go to all the different departments and seeing them feather by feather putting the porgs together. For someone to love movies and to have a path to visit every department was just a thrill,” said Hamill.
During the last few minutes of the session devoted to a Q&A, one audience member asked Johnson, “Since you are not writing or directing Episode IX, what is one thing you want to see happen as a fan, specific to a character or plot line?”
Johnson responded with, “What I honestly want is the same thing I want from every movie. I want to be surprised. I don’t want to come up with something in my head that I want to happen and see that happen.”
Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi is available to stream on numerous platforms and available on DVD/Blu-Ray.
Watch the video above for the full Journey to Star Wars Featured Session with Johnson and Hamill. Browse more 2018 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.
Journey to Star Wars Featured Session – Photo by Nicola Gell/Getty Images