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Force For Thought

Producer Ram Bergman tells Richard Edwards how The Last Jedi is pushing the boundaries of a Star Wars movie. — SFX Magazine, Winter 2017

Usually when SFX speaks to a filmmaker a couple of months ahead of their blockbuster’s release, they’re hectically running around fiddling with scores, signing off the colour grading, or making a last dash to finalise effects shots. So it’s something of a surprise when The Last Jedi producer Ram Bergman tells SFX, “We finished the movie, there’s just clean-ups here and there, working on the DVD, press, things like that. But the film’s basically done.”

We’re going to take that as a big positive ahead of Episode VIII’s arrival - along with the fact that all of the behind-the-scenes buzz around the project has been, well, good.

We’re the first to admit that big studios aren’t generally in the habit of spreading anything but messages of harmony and love ahead of their blockbusters landing in cinemas, but the rebooted Star Wars galaxy has had to deal with more than its fair share of backstage shenanigans since Disney bought the keys to the Millennium Falcon back in 2012. Indeed, from all the (not officially confirmed) rumours about Gareth Edwards’s diminished role on Rogue One to full-on director swaps on Episode IX and Han’s solo movie Solo, it’s only JJ Abrams on The Force Awakens and now The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson who’ve made it to the end in one piece.

“Rian wrote the script and people really loved it,” Bergman recalls. “That was as simple as I can say. When Rian was hired, JJ was essentially just a month into filming, so there were not really any guidelines for us - we just had the script that JJ was filming and dailies of what they were doing. Then at some point in the writing process, we basically told the studio where it’s going to go and everybody seemed to be on board. It was the month after JJ finished filming the movie when we delivered the script, and Kathy [Kennedy, Lucasfilm head] and the studio loved it. The first draft is probably 90% of the movie that we ended up shooting a year later.”

For anyone looking into that galaxy far, far away, that seems like a wise strategy. With high-school noir Brick and tricksy time-travel thriller Looper - two of the most memorable films of the 21st century - Johnson proved himself to be a quirky, idiosyncratic auteur with a great ear for snappy dialogue. Why hire such an exciting talent - albeit one who has no previous experience of a mega-budget blockbuster - and ask him to churn out another studio sequel, unless you’re desperate to play safe? But was there ever a danger that Johnson might have pushed the story too far?

“There were some things where you say, ‘Oh shit, they’re never going to let us do this!’ but they totally did, and I think everybody realised that it’s probably what it needed.” says Bergman. “And everybody was like, ‘Don’t be safe.’ To the credit of Kathy, and Bob Iger and Alan Horn [Disney CEO and chairman, respectively] and all those guys, they never tried to push us towards the safe. Whatever we pitched, whatever Rian said he wanted to do, they completely supported, and I think they understood why it needed to be that way. So definitely, Rian had the vision, but you have to give credit to the people on top; they had the vision to actually say yes, we need to shake it up a bit ”

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There is an actor called JJ Feild. It’s alarming how much we look like each other. I remember I was with my sisters before my eldest sister’s wedding and we were on Regent Street. Going to a fitting. We were trying to find out where to get all the groom’s men… where the tails would come from. The three of us walking down the street we bumped into JJ and my sisters had a moment of “Is this some sort of game?

yoi blogs based on their icons
  • yuuri katsuki: tbh they’re either a rlly standard fan that just rlly likes his character or they’re appalled at the bad characterization surrounding yuuri. could be either or both. probably rlly nice to talk to.
  • victor nikiforov: LOVES YUURI VERY MUCH. probably has a dog or two. one of the first people to say that yuuri deserved gold. the type of person to gush over their faves
  • yuri plisetsky: 9/10 bad tier blog. do not trust. will ship a 15 y/o with a fucking adult.
  • phichit chulanont: #JUSTICE4PHICHIT. wanted phichit to be on the podium one way or the other. definitely mad about how badly phichit is characterized in fanon. would have a blog dedicated to phichit and phichit alone but can’t due to lack of content.
  • christophe giacometti: liked chris’s butt. the gay best friend. probably. loves cats, wishes they got to see more victor/chris friendship shenanigans.
  • mil(l)a babicheva: very gay. most likely lesbian. either has a massive crush on mil(l)a and/or sara. DEFINITELY wants mil(l)a to lift them in the air.
  • sara crispino: wlw. in love with sara’s eyelashes. probably loves mil(l)a as well. remembers sara’s brief skating sequence very vividly.
  • otabek altin: 9.99999999999/10 VERY bad tier. most likely ships an adult with a minor. "fiction doesn't affect reality". will say otabek deserves better but pulls shit out of their asshole on the daily.
  • jj leroy: I CAN RULE THE WORLD JJ NO ONE DEFEATS ME THIS IS WHO I AM BABYYY
  • other minor character(s): they don’t know much abt xyz character but hopes they come up more next season bc there was no single unlikeable character in yoi.
  • BONUS:
  • victuuri: very gay and aspires to have that kind of relationship OR fetishizes gay relationships. idk. check their bio.
  • saramila: VERY GAY. wishes there were more canon wlw relationships. genuinely wants to see more content about sara and mi(l)a.
  • otayucky: is this. even worth talking about. anyone with an icon like this is the devil incarnate.

New headcanon: No one has seen Wes without his Snag Machine on post-Colosseum. Even after the first Shadow Pokémon incident and years later, he still wears it. Probably not only as a safety net for if history repeats itself and he has to step up, but he kind of accepts it as part of his identity.

The only person who probably has seen Wes without his Snag Machine post-Colosseum is Rui because… reasons. 👀

JJ: *takes 6 month break from YouTube*                                                               JJ: *says he isn’t coming back to YouTube properly*                                             JJ: *says he wants to stop being the KSI ‘character’*                                            

JJ: *becomes a daily vlogger/reaction channel*                                                     JJ: *hangs around with people that are famous for creating fake beef*               JJ: *literally gets Knowledge Strength and Integrity tattooed on him*                     JJ: *hangs around with people that call him ‘KSI’ and not his actual name*           

Me: ok, cool