Rian Johnson Talks The Last Jedi Influences and Filming

Now that Episode VIII is deep in post-production, with John Williams already recording the score, director Rian Johnson has spoken to Empire about some of the cinematic Star Wars: The Last Jedi influences as well as how filming went.

“‘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,” mentioned Johnson when asked what films he had seen to prepare for the Star Wars gig. “‘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.”

Confirmed! The Last Jedi will contain aerial dogfights, swordplay and romantic grandeur! But seriously, if you’re a Star Wars and/or Rian Johnson fan and are looking to up your cineaste quotient, then click the links below to purchase the titles he mentioned.

Three Outlaw Samurai Blu-ray | Twelve O’Clock High Blu-ray | To Catch a Thief Blu-ray

Johnson also spoke of the experience of filming one of the most anticipated movies in decades, one that includes the long-awaited cinematic return of Luke Skywalker (as a character who does more than stand around and look worried).

“I guess the biggest surprise was the intimacy of the process,” said Johnson. “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.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is written and directed by Johnson (Brick, Looper) and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, the late Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John BoyegaLupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

The sequel is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled for release in theaters on December 15, 2017.