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Rian Johnson on STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’s Movie Influences, and More Movie News

Thank the maker! The gates barring the flow of information on Star Wars: The Last Jedi are sloooowly opening. In today’s Movie Morsels, director Rian Johnson gives us a peek behind the curtain of the latest chapter in Lucasfilm’s venerable space saga. Plus, another sample of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 score lands online, the Avatar sequels finally get a shooting date, and much more!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi


As popular as The Force Awakens proved to be, a vocal contingent of longtime Star Wars fans felt the film’s plot might have mirrored that of A New Hope just a little too closely. Those same fans are no doubt wary that The Last Jedi will similarly follow the template established by The Empire Strikes Back. I suspect Rian Johnson, a filmmaker as plugged in as any I’ve met, is more than aware of these concerns. And in a new interview with Empire, the director remarks on how The Last Jedi will be drawing from some of the inspirations for the original Star Wars trilogy as well as from classic war, romance, and Japanese samurai movies…

“Twelve O’Clock High was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots,” Johnson told Empire when asked about the films he watched in preparation for The Last Jedi. “Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun. And To Catch a Thief was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur.”

As for handling the enormous weight of expectation that comes with helming a Star Wars movie, Johnson remarks, “I guess the biggest surprise was the intimacy of the process. It’s huge, sure, and it’s filled with pressures great and small. But at the end of the day, it boils down to the same things as the smaller films we’ve made: telling a story we care about with a camera and some actors. And a Wookiee.”


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Hey, remember last week when James Gunn gave us all a little snippet of a recording session of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 symphonic score? Well, now the director is offering us a chance to hear some of the film’s chorus record their vocals at Abbey Road Studios. In the Instagram post below, you can hear how these folks bring a strong sense of grandeur and scale to the space opera’s proceedings. Have a listen!


Han Solo Anthology Film


And in another, very different corner of the Disney Cinematic Omniverse, we’ve put together a handy-dandy guide to everything we know about “Young Han Solo” Star Wars spinoff movie thus far. Check it out for the latest and greatest on the scruffy-looking nerf herder, including the just-released first image from the film’s set!


Avatar 2


And from the It’s About Bloody Time Dept., James Cameron says the Avatar sequels will finally — finally! — begin shooting in August, with principal photography of the films’ motion-capture cast.

“My focus isn’t on Avatar 2. My focus is on Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5 equally,” Cameron told The Daily Beast. “That’s exactly how I’m approaching it. They’ve all been developed equally. I’ve just finished the script to Avatar 5. I’m now starting the process of active prep.”

As for whether or not the films will be released in glasses-free 3D, he remarks, “I’m going to push. Not only for better tools, workflow, high dynamic range and high frame rates — the things we are working toward. I’m still very bullish on 3D, but we need brighter projection, and ultimately I think it can happen — with no glasses. We’ll get there.”

[The Daily Beast]




M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is his most satisfying thriller in many a full moon, due in no small part to its unique place in the “Shyamalanverse.” If you’ve already seen the film, check out the latest Nerdist News for our take on the significance of its surprising turn.


Ocean’s 8


Don’t call them a squad! The full cast of the Ocean’s 11 reboot Ocean’s 8 has come together properly in a first look at the upcoming Warner Bros. release. We see Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway, and Helena Bonham Carter looking chock fulla attitude. One thing’s for sure — no matter how this movie turns out, it’s cast has already won the award for Most Fabulous. Check out our coverage here.


What do you think of today’s top stories? Let us know below!

Featured Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

Images: Lucasfilm, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros.

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