I love the interesting choice Disney made for director of this year’s expected box office “heavy hitter:” Rian Johnson at the helm of “Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi.”
His name rings a bell if you are a big “Breaking Bad” fan. He directed my friend Shey’s favorite episode, “Ozymandias,” and he directed my favorite, “Fly.” With regards to “Fly,” it shows the brilliance of both writer and director, as they created a compelling hour of television involving just two main characters, one simple location and an insect.
Johnson will have way more to play with across the board on “The Last Jedi.” There will be a plethora of colorful characters, creatures and locations.
Bringing the locations to life for this latest Star Wars installment is production designer Rick Heinrichs, who won an Oscar for the work he did on Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” in 1999.
I watched that movie over and over again when it came out in cinemas here—and not just because a brilliant and gorgeous 35-year-old Johnny Depp was in it. I loved the mood Heinrichs created and all the beautiful gothic details; I immersed myself in that world he created and relished every viewing. He actually came back for production work on more Depp films—“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “At World’s End” and “Dark Shadows.”
For Star Wars, Heinrichs had to design 120 sets, which used all the stages and back lots at Pinewood Studios (London) as well as Longcross Studios. They also had to go to two of “Game of Thrones’” favorite places: Croatia and Ireland.
Two of the sets I am curious about because they’ve already been mentioned are The Jedi Village and The Canto Bight Casino. The Jedi Village set, which is a series of “beehive huts” were constructed on the Pinewood Studios back lot, taken down and reassembled in Ireland!
The Canto Bight Casino supposedly was inspired by scenes from the 1955 film “To Catch a Thief” and had in the interior done on two stages at Pinewood and the exterior at Longcross with the city of Dubrovnik as Canto Bight.
We can also look forward to new creatures on the film, the most popular at the moment are probably the porgs—a combination puffin, owl and baby seal. They’re small, cute and have very big eyes. Sounds like a marketing trap to me.
I have my friend Dexter to thank for directing my gaze to the ice foxes, which appeared quickly in the trailer.
Catch Star Wars: The Last Jedi today in IMAX 3D, 3D and regular formats.