SXSW: The Director and The Jedi

the-director-and-the-jedi-sxswWhen I was a kid, I had a behind-the-scenes book detailing how they filmed the space combat in Star Wars, and I loved it. I could think of nothing better than to get to play with the spaceship models and the huge Death Star set used for the climactic scene. I found it fascinating to see how the movie was made.

And though my book did not inspire me sufficiently to pursue a career in film, my story is not much different than one that Rian Johnson tells in The Director and The Jedi, or for that matter one that Barry Jenkins told in his amazing keynote speech here at SXSW a couple of days ago about filming Moonlight in the same projects where Jenkins grew up.  Peeks behind the scenes can inspire the next generation of filmmakers, and give birth to a dream that a kid might not otherwise know to have, because it’s not immediately obvious that for every actor there are ten creative people behind the scenes, designing sets, making costumes, and on and on. But beyond that, even for someone like me who’s made a career choice that is not film, it’s just really cool to see how a huge film like Star Wars: The Last Jedi gets made.

The Director and The Jedi spans the course of The Last Jedi’s creation and documentarian Anthony Wonke was clearly given full access to the production. In granting unfettered access to Wonke and his crew, Johnson seems to have been trying to pay it forward, and in doing so he’s given a huge gift to all Star Wars fans.

There are some really amazing moments captured in The Director and The Jedi, with a particular favourite of mine being the destruction of the Jedi library, especially seeing the creature designers lose their shit over meeting Frank Oz.  And really, who can blame them? After all, he’s probably the reason they got into that career, and maybe even the reason their jobs even exist!

Maybe, just maybe, one young Star Wars fan will be inspired by this film to become the next Rian Johnson or Barry Jenkins. But even if not, there will be something of interest in The Director and The Jedi for every kid who ever wanted to fly his or her own model X-Wing through the trench run.

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12 thoughts on “SXSW: The Director and The Jedi

  1. Liz A.

    There have been so many great making ofs for Star Wars. I still remember seeing something about the speeder chase from Return of the Jedi. It’s amazing how they get the film to look the way they do.

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    1. Sean Post author

      You are right that Star Wars has been really good at giving behind the scenes looks, and it is still amazing to see how these films are made. I was particularly surprised at how many giant sets were built for the film, even for relatively small parts (the Jedi library being one of those).

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  2. Jay

    I am not a Star Wars fan but I still appreciated this doc. Perhaps in part because I’ve long admired Johnson as a film maker. He’s a smart guy who knows a lot about movies, and also that he doesn’t know everything. He works with a lot of great people and gives a lot of great credit. But he’s obviously an artist at heart, he sees things differently, and seems to have inspired a lot of trust among his colleagues.

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  3. J.

    I hadn’t realised this was even a thing until seeing some of Mark Hamill’s social media posts the last week or so. It’ll be interesting to see how they brought together some of the movie’s spectacular moments, that’s for sure!

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  4. Pingback: SXSW: Boundaries | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

  5. Tom

    This sounds awesome. Spoken as a die-easy Star Wars fan, I’d definitely like to go behind the scenes of The Last Jedi. Thanks for reviewing this!

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