The latest issue of the Rolling Stone is filled with nuggets pertaining to The Last Jedi, which as we speak is only 13 days away. One key note is from director Rian Johnson, who makes it clear that the plot and direction of the story remained unchanged after the sudden passing of Carrie Fisher.
The Last Jedi will be Fisher’s last Star Wars movie. In the waning days of the cruel year of 2016, she went into cardiac arrest on an airplane, dying four days later. Less than a month afterward, 500,000 or so people assembled in Washington, D.C., for that city’s Women’s March, and Leia was everywhere, in posters bearing her doughnut-haired image circa 1977, with accompanying slogans (“A Woman’s Place Is in the Resistance” was, perhaps, the best).
Johnson had grown close with Fisher, and is glad to hear that I visited her psychedelically decorated Beverly Hills house a couple of years back, where she did almost an entire hilarious interview prone in bed. Afterward, she cheerily cracked jokes about drugs and mental illness in front of a visiting Disney publicist. “You got to experience a little bit of that magical sphere that she created,” says Johnson, who went over the script with her in that same bedroom. “I’m happy I got to poke my head into that, briefly, and know her even a little bit.”
He left her part in the film untouched. “We didn’t end up changing a thing,” says Johnson. “Luckily, we had a totally complete performance from her.” So it is now Abrams who has to figure out how to grapple with Fisher and Leia’s sudden absence. (He is characteristically gnomic on the matter: “It’s a sad reality,” he says. “In terms of going forward … time will tell what ends up getting done.”)