Though the Star Wars fanbase is excited to see the next film when The Last Jedi arrives in theaters. There’s also a bittersweet feeling across the galaxy, as it will be the last appearance of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa.
Director Rian Johnson spoke with Entertainment Weekly about Leia’s final storyline.
With the republic destroyed and Han Solo dead, the resistance is in a very vulnerable place.
“They’re a small band that’s now cut off, on its own, and hunted when the Republic is shattered,” said Johnson. “When the First Order did that hit, the Resistance is isolated, and they’re very, very vulnerable. That’s where we pick them up.”
With her son, Kylo Ren, murdering his father Han Solo, Leia is not only trying to keep the resistance on track, she’s also dealing with her own personal pain.
Part of her healing process is mentoring the best pilot in the resistance, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
“Poe is in some ways a surrogate son for Leia,” Isaac tells EW. “But also I think she sees in him the potential for a truly great leader of the Resistance and beyond.”
“Poe’s arc is one of evolving from a heroic soldier to a seasoned leader, to see beyond the single-mindedness of winning the battle to the larger picture of the future of the galaxy,” said Isaac. “I think Leia knows she won’t be around forever and she, with tough love, wants to push Poe to be more than the badass pilot, to temper his heroic impulses with wisdom and clarity.”
Johnson also explained the tense relationship between Leia and Laura Dern’s new character, Vice Admiral Holdo.
“I don’t want to tip the hat too much, but I will say that the heat is immediately turned up on the Resistance,” said Johnson. “Everybody is put in a pressure cooker right away, and relationships crack and strain under that pressure. That was really interesting to me, the notion of putting this small army under a lot of external pressure and showing some of the results within the Resistance itself.”
Following Fisher’s passing, there were questions about what the impact would be on her Star Wars future. Johnson stresses that no part of Leia’s storyline was changed in response to the actress’ death.
“There’s no way that we could’ve known this would’ve been the last Star Wars movie she would be in, so it’s not like we made the film thinking that we were bringing closure to the character,” he said. “But watching the film, there’s going to be a very emotional reaction to what she does in this movie.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi jumps into theaters Dec. 15.