20 Behind-the-Scenes Facts about The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi continued the spirit of George Lucas. Like the Prequel Trilogy veering off into a direction that caught many off guard, The Last Jedi didn’t do what was expected. It swung for the fences at times, not always hitting its marks, but it pushed to do something new with Star Wars, which is always exciting.

In the middle of the Sequel Trilogy, The Last Jedi is an exciting ride while being very different. Here are 20 facts that you might not know about the movie.

1. The Creator

Rian Johnson
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

The director and writer for The Last Jedi was Rian Johnson. One of Johnson's favorite collaborators, Ram Bergman, also signed on to the project as a producer.

2. Cameo

Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman Rogue One Cameo
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Johnson and Bergman would have cameos in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That’s because Gareth Edwards, director for Rogue One, appears in The Last Jedi as a rebel fighter during the Battle of Crait.

3. Luke and Kira

Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Johnson took notes from George Lucas’ original idea for Episode VII. In these early drafts, Rey was a young girl named Kira trained by Luke Skywalker while Luke was living in seclusion in a Jedi Temple.

4. Solo’s Dice

Han Solo’s Dice
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

While working on the details and nuances of the film, Johnson worked closely with the Lucasfilm Story Group. One detail that became significant was Han Solo’s dice that hung in the Millenium Falcon. It was scrapped from The Force Awakens, given significance in The Last Jedi, and brought back in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

5. Matching Canon

Lucasfilm Story Group
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

The Story Group also helped him craft the story, as Johnson was incredibly conscious of the previously established canon. Meeting with them twice a week, he started with a list of the characters and wrote out what would challenge them as people to make a darker middle chapter.

6. Influences

The Bridge on the River Kwai
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

There were also several movies that Johnson took inspiration from. These included To Catch A Thief, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Twelve O’Clock High, Sahara, Gunga Din, and Letter Never Sent.

7. Porgs

Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Porgs were the cute fuzzy bird creatures created for the film, which were great for marketing but were also made because of necessity. Primary filming with Luke and Rey occurred on Skellig Michael island in Ireland. There were so many puffins living there that it would be costly to edit them out. So, the crew rolled with it and made porgs.

8. Making Ahch-To

Rey Skywalker, Ahch-To, The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

The island of Skellig Michael has an Augustinian monastery on it. The exact creation of the monastery is unknown, but it’s estimated between 950-1050 AD. The buildings, stairs, and graveyard these ancient monks made inspired Johnson’s story and production design for the old Jedi who lived on Ahch-To.

9. What’s In a Name?

The last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

It’s a tradition for Star Wars movies to have fun working titles as they film. For example, A New Hope was titled Blue Harvest. The Last Jedi’s working title was Space Bear.

10. The Script Doctor

The Force Awakens, General Leia Organa, Rey Skywalker
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

While she was known as Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher was one of Hollywood’s best script doctors. Johnson often collaborated on the script with Fisher, who wrote many of her own lines and ab-libs.

11. Bling

Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, Finn, The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

It was also Fisher's influence if there were more shiny things than in an average Star Wars movie. Johnson shared on Twitter that she was adamant, grabbing his arm during filming and saying they needed more “Space Jewelry.” Johnson loved the idea and made a point for multiple characters, like Rose and Paige Tico’s crescent necklace, to have jewelry.

12. Our Princess

billie lourd and carrie fisher a force awakens
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Tragically, the world lost Carrie Fisher while The Last Jedi was in post-production. Some of her dialogue hadn’t been completed in ADR, which needed to be recorded. The crew worked hard editing pieces of Carrie’s dialogue from other footage and archival work to finish the film.

The film is dedicated to Carrie Fisher.

13. New Aliens

Fathier, The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

A tradition for every Star Wars film is to create new species, creatures, or droids. The Last Jedi continues this trend by creating ten new aliens and creatures. Along with the porgs, other creations include Lanai, Vulptices, Fathiers, Wermals, and Cloddograns.

14. Finn Needs a Friend

Rose Tico, Finn, The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Rose Tico was created because Rian Johnson needed another character for Finn. Initially, Poe Dameron would go to Canto Bight with his friend. Johnson thought their dialogue was bland and interchangeable as the characters weren’t challenging each other. Rose allowed Finn to continue his character arc.

15. A Natural Blond

Amilyn Holdo, The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Laura Dern portrayed Amilyn Holdo. While the character had purple hair in the film, she was a natural blonde but dyed her hair throughout her life. Holdo’s sacrifice would go on to have its name called “The Holdo Maneuver.”

16. Don’t Join

DJ, The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Benicio Del Toro plays the slicer DJ in the movie. The name DJ isn’t his real name but an alias short for “Don’t Join.” Elvis Costello's ‘Don’t Join' poster inspired this.

17. Almost Maul

Darth Maul Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Ray Park
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

This wasn’t Del Toro’s first run-in with Star Wars. He was originally cast as Darth Maul in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Del Toro left the project when George Lucas cut many of Maul’s lines, making the role smaller.

18. Lando

Lando Calrissian Billy Dee Williams
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

An early idea for DJ was that Lando Calrissian would play the role. Johnson later reconsidered this. He believed that while a scoundrel, Lando had more morals than DJ.

19. The Maestro

John Williams
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Like many mainstream Star Wars films, John Williams returned to compose the soundtrack. He created new character themes, such as “Rose’s Theme.” Though, for the music for Canto Bight, Williams used excerpts from “Aquarela do Brasil” by Ary Barroso, one of the most popular songs from Brazil.

20. The Godfather

Kylo ren
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

One of the most important interactions of The Last Jedi was the Force connection between Rey and Kylo Ren. Johnson used old-school filming techniques to portray their scenes when talking with each other. He would shoot their conversations at eye level.

Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo also compared their moments to The Godfather in an interview with The Star Wars Show, stating: “It feels like there is definitely a door open between the two of them in The Force Awakens…and that is more poignant at the end (of The Last Jedi) when that door closes, it’s “The Godfather” shot of the door closing between Michael and Kay, it’s the Millennium Falcon door that separates the two.”

Hope Mullinax is a freelance writer with over ten years of experience working for various publications. She’s the Site Expert at Dork Side of the Force, a Freelance News Writer for Collider, and the Animation Staff Writer at The Geeky Waffle. When she’s not writing, she loves on her cats, collects Pokémon cards, and rolls dice on For Light and Dice, a Star Wars TTRPG podcast.