Star Wars: The Last Jedi Behind the Scenes Breakdown

I was wrong about a lot of stuff to do with the  D23 Expo last weekend, however the one thing I got right was a behind the scenes piece for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

It’s probably the best piece of material that was presented during the conference that was also subsequently released to the public. Yeah, I’m talking the ridiculousness of me not being able to see the supposedly bonkers Infinity War trailer, but you didn’t click on this to read me rant about how much it sucks that I can’t afford to fly to Anaheim and stand in line for a day just to watch a trailer.

If you haven’t seen the piece yet you can find it right here.

So let’s get to talking about this great behind the scenes segment.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD.

The trailer begins with a couple quick shots of the film’s set at Pinewood Studios in London. We see some shots of members of the crew working on the set of the Millenium Falcon, some shots of makeup and air artists working on Chewbecca, R2-D2, C-3PO and BB-8. Nothing really stands out in these first shots except for one of what appears to be ‘beehive’ looking sets.

So we know a little about these sets from leaked set photos. These ‘beehives’ are on the planet Ahch-To, which is the same planet where most of the first teaser trailer takes place and where Luke is at the end of The Force Awakens. It’s believed that a large portion of the film takes place on Ahch-To. I think that these ‘beehives’ are homes where the planets inhabitants used to live but have long been abandoned. I presume much like many others that Luke fulfilled his task of finding the first Jedi temple and that it reside’s somewhere on this planet. I believe that the previous inhabitants of this planet where among the first Jedi and they lived in these huts. That’s all on Ahch-To for now, more on the planet later on in the article.

This is my favorite moment of the entire piece. This shot is an absolutely gorgeous image that I’m sure will only look better when we see it from the primary camera. This shot takes place on one of the new planets featured in the film called Crait. The planet was first mentioned by director Rian Johnson during Star Wars Celebration back in April. We still don’t know much about the planet but we do know that the red material shot is a mineral that is mined at Crait, the mineral is what the planet is known for along with a layer of salt that covers the surface of the planet. We also know that the planet is home to a former base of the Rebel Alliance from the original trilogy of films. This shot matches up really well with a shot we saw in the teaser trailer of a couple new ships flying across the surface of the planet. Johnson has said that Crait plays a big role in the film and will feature a key battle between the resistance and the first order.

While this shot doesn’t disclose much information about the plot or characters of the film. It’s still an important shot. I would guess that the completed version of this shot takes place within the first two minutes of the movie with this being the direct follow-up to Rey presenting Luke with his lightsaber at the end of the Force Awakens. The other interesting element of this shot is the trackers of the fingers of Mark Hamill, this just confirms that they will be using CG to once again create Luke’s robotic hand. Rumors from the film’s set suggest that Luke first asks Rey “Who are you” and she responds by handing him the lightsaber. While it’s certainly not an answer to his question the fact that Rey is in possession of Luke’s original lightsaber is sure to establish a base line respect between the two.

With every Star Wars movie we are introduced to new planets and The Last Jedi will be no different. The aforementioned Crait will be one of the new planets in this film but so will Canto Bight which is the planet I believe is picture here. This comes from the filming the crew did in Dubrovnik, Croatia in March of 2016. Interesting fact the Croatian city has also been used in Game of Thrones for scenes taking place at King’s Landing. Not much is known about the exterior scenes that will take place on Canto Bight but as for the interior scenes, read on to find out.

Nobody is talking about this shot and it’s making me really upset, it goes by pretty quickly in the trailer but it’s a big information dump in one image. This is, in my opinion, Supreme Leader Snoke’s throne room. If you look really closely at the back it looks like a throne and it appears to be a figure standing or sitting on that throne that resembles a full body suited Andy Serkis. A number of elements of this scene make me believe it’s Snoke’s throne room. First, the strong red background. It seems as if all the marketing so far for this film are showing that Red plays a big role in the film, the colour has been featured prominently in every bit of marketing material since we first learned the title The Last Jedi. Second, it looks eerily similar to throne rooms that we’ve seen in the past in Star Wars films, in terms of how wide the room looks. Third, the shot immediately proceeding this shot was of a masked Kylo Ren stepping onto a walk way, this shot looks as if it’s a perspective shot for the former Solo.

The second of my selected images that takes place on the Jedi temple planet of Ahch-To. I believe this image just shows more of the training that it’s believed Rey will undergo in this film under the tutelage of her master Luke. What is interesting to me in this film is that it shows Rey continuing to use her staff which became prominent as Rey’s weapon of choice in The Force Awakens. Online speculation is rife with people believing that her staff is somehow going to be incorporated into her lightsaber when she finally builds her lightsaber either in this film or in the next. Many people will forget that Luke used his father’s old lightsaber in the first two films before building his own prior to the events of Return of the Jedi.

I have a pretty good ear to the ground when it comes to knowledge about Star Wars however this shot surprised me. It shows that they were shooting scenes utilizing water, and some shots underwater. I have yet to ear about an element of the film which occurs underwater. This could simply be a quick sequence of Rey falling into the water on Ahch-To. Which is what I believe it represents because the stunt double in the shot is wearing an outfit which is very similar to the one worn by Rey in the early part of the films. Still this is a shot that surprised me and I found it interesting.

This shot has created a lot of online speculation since it was released. Many people believe that it simply shows Rey training, which like I’ve said above looks to be a major part of the film. There is however a group of people who believe that this is an image of Rey running away from or towards someone. While I don’t want to say too much and this point in the article as there are two other images below that lend more credence to the belief that it’s Rey in battle. This could potentially be a shot from a rumored scene involving Rey, Luke, Kylo Ren, and the Knights of Ren.

Speaking of the main villain in the first film this is our best look at Adam Driver’s former solo, Kylo Ren. We prominently see a brand new scar stretching across Adam Driver’s face which he received at the hands of Rey in the third act battle between Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren in the Force Awakens. While we can’t see in this particular shot we have seen in other promotional material how Kylo’s eyes have begun to take on the yellow-orange-ish tint that flickered into Anakin’s eyes after he was dubbed as Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith.

Benicio Del Toro! Del Toro is one of the new characters in the film who has been mentioned a lot in the film’s marketing and even appeared on stage at D23. Del Toro becomes just the third academy award winning actor in the history of the Star Wars franchise. Del Toro, Lupita Nyongo, and Alec Guinness all won Academy Awards for acting before joining the Star Wars family (Natalie Portman, also a member of the Star Wars family won an Oscar in 2010 but it was after all three of her Star Wars films had been released). Del Toro is playing what is described as a mysterious character who we first meet on Canto Bight. The name of his character has not yet been revealed by the team behind the film but director Rian Johnson has said that on set they referred to the character as DJ, a nickname interpreted by many to mean Dark Jedi.

And with the rumor that we first meet DJ on Canto Bight, we finally get to see the big set piece that we reportedly visit Canto Bight for – the Casino. The big opportunity in The Last Jedi for Lucasfilm to flex their muscles in regards to creature creation, makeup, and visual effects as we visit the Canto Bight casino. Rumored to be a big part of the second act of the film, some of our favorite characters are speculated to be visiting Canto Bight while looking for someone and that person is … DJ. It’s a part of the journey that Finn, Poe, and new character Rose will take during the events of the film. The city of Canto Bight is being described as a casino city and this is our best image of the ‘high class’ of the Star Wars world that we will run into when visiting the new planet.

This is the point where you are reading and asking yourself what the hell is this guy talking about, why has he chosen probably the least interesting creature in the entire featurette and singled it out, well because this creature is actually important to the plot. The creature above is known as a Porg, a creature who calls the aforementioned Ahch-To their home. The Porgs are rumored to fall into a similar role, if not a little more limited as the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. They are creatures native to the planet who are very important to the eco-system of the planet. They are said to have a strong connection to the force, much like the planet itself. I believe that the Porgs will feature provide a fun side story for both Chewbecca and R2-D2 who are also both on Ahch-To at the start of the film.

This is probably the only image that during my first viewing of this sizzle reel I actually paused it and had to analyze it, we’ve been led to believe that there are two stories in this film. The story involving Rey and Luke and the one involving Poe, Finn, and Rose. Now of course these two were going to intertwine in the movie, that’s how movies work. However, we didn’t know how or where – we still don’t know the answer to how but we might know the answer to where because of this shot. The background in this scene suggests that the final act of the film where Rey comes and back from her training takes place on the planet Crait. The two big hints in this shot is the fact that Rey actress Daisy Ridley is wearing a new costume in the scene suggesting that some time has passed since we last saw her. The passage of time is important because we know that this movie picks up right where The Force Awakens ended. The second hint comes in the greyish film on the ground and rocks around them. We know for previous shots of the planet Crait that it is covered in the same grey-ish film which the filmmakers are calling salt. Both these hints point to Rey and Finn being involved in battle between the Resistance and the First Order taking place on the mineral rich planet.

POTENTIAL MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

I wanted to give one more spoiler warning because this could be a big one for the film.

I’m going to make this brief cause I know my editor doesn’t want to read any spoilers. These photos show both Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver training and what’s most interesting is the fact that both Ridley and Driver are training against multiple opponents. Rumors from the film’s set seem to indicated a scene that takes place in the movie basically as a follow up to the controversial ending of The Force Awakens where Rey with hardly any training was able to handle Kylo Ren. It’s believed that the scene features Kylo along with members of the Knights of Ren travelling to Ahch-To and battling with Luke and Rey. The scene reportedly features Luke against five or six members of the Knights and Rey versus Kylo Ren part two. These pictures while they don’t specifically show anything reinforce the idea that something along these lines does take place in the film. Ridley is using a lightsaber like prop against three enemies, while Driver is using prop against two enemies (Luke and Rey.)

Those were the 14 biggest elements of the behind the scenes feature that stood out to me when I was watching.

What stood out to you? Let us know in the comments.

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What to expect at the D23 Expo

In just two days, hordes of mouse-hat fans will flock to Anaheim for the D23 Expo 2017, the bi-annual conference for all things Disney.

For me, the highlights of the conference come on Friday and Saturday morning respectively when feature films will take the main stage. On Friday, they’ll showcase everything in the world of Disney-Pixar animation and then on Saturday, everything in the world of live-action which for most people means Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here is a rundown of what to expect from D23 Expo 2017 this weekend.

ANIMATED

I’ll be the first one to admit that my animated knowledge is not up to snuff, I’m not the most fervent admirer of the craft. However, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the animated panel at D23 for two reasons – Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2.

I’m a child of the nineties; hell I was born six months before the release of the original Toy Story film, it’s the animated franchise that not only I but many have grown up with. I followed along as Buzz was introduced to the gang and became Woody’s partner in crime, was overjoyed when I met Jessie in 1999 and everything felt right in the world for a lowly four year old, and then I like many was moved to tears as eleven years later Toy Story 3 came out and showed us all that we were growing up and there’s nothing we can do about it. And now once again, nearly ten years after the release of Toy Story 3 we will see the fourth instalment in the franchise. Toy Story 4 is likely not going to have the largest presence at the conference given the fact that it’s release date is still 23 months away. However, we will get some details; two years ago at D23 we were told the story will focus on a romance between Woody and Bo Peep, these plot points remain two years later as the only morsels of information we have on the film, I expect that to change on Friday. Don’t expect a trailer, don’t expect a teaser, don’t even expect any footage from the film but I would expect some stills, some production artwork, some more plot details and potentially even Tom Hanks and Tim Allen to appear on stage together. Toy Story 4 is a long ways away so don’t expect to see footage from the film anytime soon but the concept of more plot details and some interesting photographs wouldn’t be too much to ask for.

When we first got confirmation on The Incredibles 2 the film community was stunned we had waited over ten years just for confirmation that the movie was coming. Fans rabid for a sequel had nearly forgotten about Pixar’s lone superhero attempt and yet people were still excited. It took a poster with the unforgettable first Incredibles logo and simply ahead a second ‘I’. Writer and Director Brad Bird returns for the film which is 11 months away from release. This is the film that will run the animated panel for Disney at D23 and I don’t think anything is off the board from a full cast announcement, plot details, a new poster, concept art, and yes, even footage. There is precedent here, in 2015 Moana was given the spotlight at D23, a film that was more a year out and it created positive momentum for the film that lasted all the way to the Academy Awards where Moana lost out to Zootopia (In my opinion, Moana was the better film and deserved the Academy Award.) Overall, while I think the conference will announce a couple of titles for movies on the Disney-Pixar production schedule I believe that The Incredibles 2 will be the highlight of the show with Toy Story 4 making a curtain call appearance and lighting up the fans in attendance.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

Don’t get too excited, those of you looking for MCU news will likely have to wait another week until the Marvel conference at Comic-Con. It’s not that Disney doesn’t care about the MCU, it’s in fact there biggest money maker right now (Spider Man: Homecoming pushed the MCU box office to over 12 billion dollars,) but D23 isn’t the ideal place to show all your MCU footage. That being said, I still have a couple ideas to possible snippets that could be seen at D23.

Thor: Ragnarok, the next Marvel film on the slate comes out in November and will be the third MCU film to release in 2017, the first time the studio has released three films in one calendar year. You WILL NOT see any footage from Thor: Ragnarok at D23, you will also not see any images. What you WILL see is a new poster and the main cast assembled together on stage. Those of you waiting to see more footage from Thor’s third solo film will have to wait for Comic-Con where I expect those in attendance will see 5-10 minutes from the film and everyone in the world will be treated to a second trailer for the film.

The MCU film I’m most excited for is Black Panther. This incredible cast and crew have been working on something special for a while and that was never more clear than when they release that teaser trailer in early June. Black Panther is likely to see the biggest push of all the MCU films at D23. A poster seems likely to me, as well as concept art. Following a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in late April, Disney took members of the media back to their LA office and showed off concept art, stills from the movie, and a few brief scenes. Expect to see some of the Black Panther concept art and stills that were shown to the media in that exchange to finally be shown to the public here. In terms of footage, I give it a 35 percent chance that Ryan Coogler debuts new footage for his film at the event. A little over a month from the first teaser, I hesitate to believe that the film has full scenes that they are ready to show the public yet.

Finally, this will be the surprise of the event and it will come at the very end of the live action film panel on Saturday morning. Kevin Fiege, the CEO of Marvel Studios will walk back onto the stage and give us the first plot details from Avengers: Infinity War, he will then throw to a sizzle reel from the film. We will see Cap doing Cap stuff, Tony in a new suit and then end it with a shot of Thanos and the gauntlet. The lights will come back up in the arena, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Holland will be on stage to thank everyone and then Josh Brolin will walk out wearing the same infinity gauntlet he wore at Comic-Con three years ago when it was announced he would be playing Thanos.

LUCASFILM

Lucasfilm’s two major projects right now are Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the untitled Han Solo film, both set to release within the next twelve months. My predictions are all based on my ideas that Lucasfilm will have the heaviest presence at D23’s feature film panel. The MCU will be pushed back to Comic-Con save for a few reveals where Star Wars will not be attending Comic-Con in a feature film capacity.

Let’s start with The Last Jedi, many people are expecting to see a second trailer for the 8th Star Wars film and that’s not crazy, if this was any regular film but it’s not it’s Star Wars. A second trailer for The Last Jedi will NOT be shown at D23 this weekend. The next full length trailer for the film will come around September or even October much like they did with The Force Awakens. That doesn’t mean though that you won’t see anything from The Last Jedi, I believe that we will see a behind the scenes sizzle reel roughly 3-4 minutes in length. This sort of marketing falls directly in line with what Lucasfilm has done with their films already. Release the trailer, then the behind the scenes reel, and then the second trailer.

Roughly two and half months before the film comes out. We don’t need four trailer for The Last Jedi, I would even argue that we don’t need one trailer we are still going to see the movie. Lucasfilm is spectacular at marketing and they know that they don’t need to show any more from the film than they are comfortable with.

As for the Han Solo film, if you asked me six weeks ago I would have said a 100 percent chance of a teaser trailer but then something funny happened, they fired their directors with two weeks left of shooting and all hell broke loose. If you didn’t hear, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired for being unwillingly to follow the script written by Star Wars veteran Lawerence Kasdan and his son. Two days later, veteran director Ron Howard was brought on to finish the picture and at the time of writing this they are currently undergoing re-shoots to ensure the film is closer to what Lucasfilm wants. All that would lead a regular person to believe that nothing from this film would be shown, a rational person may argue that clearly they don’t have a lot of faith about where the project is right now based on the fact that they fired their directors just weeks ago but I’m not a rational human being.

Footage from this film will be shown at D23, at least I really think so. Ron Howard has been using his personal twitter ever since the film came out to tease costumes, images, and details about the film, I would bet that Lucasfilm will use the D23 Expo stage to ensure audiences not to loose their minds about the project. Not a lot of people in the film world have faith that Lucasfilm can turn it around on the Han Solo movie, a film which not a lot of people even wanted to begin with. D23 would be the perfect opportunity for Lucasfilm to show thirty seconds of Alden Ehrenreich in character as Han and Donald Glover in character as Lando and just like that they have turned the negative press into positive press. People are suddenly talking about how good Alden is as Han or how perfect Glover is to portray Lando and for the first time since mid-June, people in the Star Wars community aren’t talking about the behind the scenes problems on this film.

Finally, if Disney doesn’t show anything from the Han Solo movie then they will do something else. Something that fans have been asking for quite a while. Ewan McGregor will step on stage and announce the solo Obi-Wan Kenobi film. Lucasfilm has a third anthology film on their slate right now and no information regarding this film, for months people have been speculating on an Obi-Wan film staring McGregor in the role that made him famous. D23 is the best place to announce this film and it would certainly do wonders to Lucasfilm’s perception in the media right now.

All in all, it’s a great time of year for film fans with D23 and Comic-Con back to back. In the next two weeks you can expect to see footage, stills, and posters from some of the most anticipated movies of the next couple years.