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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cast on Characters, Carrie, Story and More

Kidzworld has the interview with the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

December 12, 2017

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By: Lynn Barker

In Star Wars the Last Jedi, rebellion characters face many dark and challenging moments. The galaxy is in full war mode with each character having to make very hard decisions. Rey is developing her powers with the help of Luke Skywalker as the Rebels prepare for full on war with The First Order. Will long dead secrets be revealed?

Luke is wary of Rey's great powerLuke is wary of Rey's great powerCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

The Cast met recently in L.A. to answer a few fan questions. We have Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Kelly Marie Tran as new character Rose Tico, Laura Dern (Admiral Holdo), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) and Andy Serkis (who motion captures and voices the evil Snoke).

Andy Serkis in motion capture gearAndy Serkis in motion capture gearCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

The group talks the legacy of Carrie/Leia, strong women characters, changes from the last film and more!

Q: The film, like The Empire Strikes Back in the first trilogy, is darker for our heroes. How does it feel different for you?

Mark Hamill: My answer will be in direct proportion to the amount of screen time I have (laughter…he doesn’t have much).

  • John Boyega: I just think the story’s moving forward and just challenging the characters and then all the characters are under intense pressure, and so it’s a time which everyone has their own specific reckoning, and it’s all different. It’s like a lot going on. I’ve only watched it once and the first thing is that I want to watch it again because of the amount of information and Easter eggs in there as well.
  • Oscar Isaac: Yeah, the first chapter in a story of three sets the tone and the world and the new characters. In the second one you don’t have to spend so much time doing that, you can really just delve into what’s happening, like John said, to the conflict of each of the characters. Every character is challenged deeply, including the droids, with like the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, and that’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark.
  • Daisy Ridley: I mean, the biggest thing for me when I read the script was about not being a team (with John as Finn) so much in this one. The film was a challenge for me to be in different combinations of people. So in itself, we’re in different situations, we’re with different people that we are learning about and we’re meeting for the first time, so yeah, felt pretty different for me.

John Boyega and Daisy Ridley talk to pressJohn Boyega and Daisy Ridley talk to pressCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: And for you “bad guys”?

  • Andy Serkis: I mean, I was blown away when I saw the movie. I just was so caught up with it, not least because it was really intimate and very emotional and I wasn’t expecting that at all. It balances between these great kind of epic moments and hilarious antics, you know, literally flipping on a dime and then going right into the heart of these beautiful characters, and you really caring.
  • Gwendoline Christie: I think Star Wars is our foundation story of good against evil, and where that balance is, and how we see elements of characters we’ve never seen before, things that can be unexpected. The world that we live in is a changing and evolving place, that it retains the simplicity of those elements, but it really resonates with what it is to follow your own human dark narcissistic tendencies, where that will take you, and I love that, and it’s done so beautifully aesthetically too.

Phasma with her troopersPhasma with her troopersCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: And the newcomers to the Star Wars universe. Laura, did you geek out a bit playing resistance Admiral Holdo and Kelly, how about you playing Rose?

  • Laura Dern: Every part of me geeks out.
  • Kelly Marie Tran: Every part. I’m trying not to cry right now ‘cause this is so weird and different. It definitely feels like you have to find a way to just do the work and kind of block everything out, but then C-3PO comes up and you’re like oh, god! (I’m in a Star Wars movie!). So you’re constantly figuring out how to work in this environment and then you’re like, but also this is awesome. So it’s kind of a balance, right?
  • Laura: There is the intimacy of discovering each character’s conflict, which is just extraordinary, given the enormity of the cast. Oscar and I always talked about just how stunned we were that we were in such a massive environment and did feel like we were making an indie movie. (We explored) duality of the light and the dark within characters. George Lucas first started the mythology of that, and it’s just so brilliant. And a group of us sitting together watching it for the first time was amazing ‘cause it was like we were with 3,000 people. We were screaming, standing up.

Laura Dern as Admiral HoldoLaura Dern as Admiral HoldoCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: Adam and Domhnall, talk about the relationship between Kylo and Hux. Snoke is playing them against each other.

  • Adam Driver: I think there’s a competition and it’s maybe yet to be discovered where that comes from. I love playing those scenes, especially with Domhnall, ‘cause he’s a great actor and there’s not a moment taken for granted. It’s always broken up into little pieces and the story in our mind comes first before an explosion.
  • Domhnall Gleeson: There’s just such a huge amount of drama going on in that group of people but then also just a huge amount of bitchy infighting as well. I think it’s really fun to see them kind of really hurt each other from the inside as well as from the outside, you know, the united front thing is difficult for them sometimes.

General Hux loves being in powerGeneral Hux loves being in powerCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Hideous First Order leader SnokeHideous First Order leader SnokeCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: Mark, with Luke training Rey in this movie, it seems like he’s in the position Yoda was with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. Does he finally learn some of Yoda’s lessons now that he’s the teacher?

  • Mark: Well, you’re assuming that I train Rey. I have to be really careful (not to give spoiler information). People say, was it difficult to pick up and wield a light saber again?” and I go, “do I pick up a light saber?” I can promise you my part is twice as big as it was in The Force Awakens.

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is troubled and worriedLuke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is troubled and worriedCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: There are way more female characters in this move, certainly than in the first three movies. That’s going to mean a lot to young girls. What does it mean to you?

  • Daisy: I think like as a girl growing up in London, obviously I knew there was a disparity in films but I wasn’t so aware of it, growing up in a liberal household. I was never really made to feel any one way. So when I got involved, I knew it was a big deal, but the response (to Rey) was so beyond anything I could have imagined. I ever took it for granted or anything but it was just so monumental. Obviously that’s a testament everyone who created the characters in the beginning. It’s just great characters that happily are falling into broader categories now, so I’m thrilled.
  • Kelly: Yeah, I agree. I think that it feels like both an honor and a responsibility at the same time. I feel like from the beginning when I initially found out I got this role, I just felt like I wanted to do the whole thing justice, and I’m so excited that guys, the girls in this movie kick some butt. Every single one is so good, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. Yeah.
  • Laura: Rian (the director) really wanted (my character’s) strength to first lead with a very deep femininity. To see that a powerful female character also can be feminine is something that moves away from a stereotype that’s sometimes perceived that strong female characters must be like the boys. I thought that was a really interesting choice to get to witness.
  • Gwendoline: I was so delighted to see that there was a more representative selection of actors that were going to be in these incredible Star Wars films, and that has continued. You get to see women that are not being strong just because they’re acting like men. They’re doing something else. And also you’re seeing a developed character or at least a developing character, that’s showing some complex character traits. And I’m just delighted about that. I’m delighted that something as legendary as Star Wars has decided to be modern and to reflect our society more as it is.
  • Oscar: An interesting thing, because think as a guy I’d like to say that for me the most formative people in my life have been women. And so that has shaped my destiny so much and so to see that reflected in the film is really, really a beautiful thing, and it is more true to real life and what’s happening now. Women are the ones, you know, that shape you.
  • Andy: Well, speaking as the leader of the First Order, I would say that Snoke is very unimpressed with the fact that there is such a huge female force that seems to be growing in the universe. Its deeply threatening, it’s deeply undermining, it’s got to be stopped. (everyone laughs).

Rey must learn to use the light saberRey must learn to use the light saberCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: Adam, for “Force Awakens”, you were the new kid on the block. You had Carrie, Harrison and Mark to set the tone and lead the way for you to step into the role. Did that effect your performance?

  • Adam: I don’t think so. The lesson that I learned from the first one from Mark, Carrie and Harrison is (they don’t tell you what your experience is going to be). We’re all different and we see the world differently. It’s for each person to discover, and it’s almost more generous to give someone space, to make it personal to them. I think they’re kind of lead by example people. I think that none of us took it upon ourselves to tell people how it was going to be for them, because we’re not them, you know. I think everyone was just as equally terrified to figure out what we were doing.

Kylo wonders if Rey might join himKylo wonders if Rey might join himCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: Mark, coming back to the Luke character after all these years. What reaction did you have as an actor?

  • Mark: I don’t think any line in the script epitomized my reaction more than “This is not going to go the way you think”. And Rian pushed me out of my comfort zone, as if I weren’t as intimidated and terrified to begin with, but I’m grateful, because you have to trust someone and he was the only Obi Wan available to me.

Carrie Fisher as a sad General LeiaCarrie Fisher as a sad General LeiaCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: How is “The Last Jedi” a very different than any of the Star Wars movies for you Daisy?

  • Daisy: I was like real new to this all, and something could have been really scary and being surrounded by people that make it feel really comfortable for me is like the only thing you can ask for. If you’re in a really safe environment, then you’re able to do more. And coming back, it was different obviously ‘cause the story’s different, the characters are being challenged in different ways, but the crew was similar. It’s just a really happy set, that everyone feels heard and respected. To me, in a more emotional way, I think it did feel more similar than different.

Carrie takes direction on setCarrie takes direction on setCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: John, you are a huge Star Wars fan. Are you over being in the films yet?

  • John:  I’m still trying to get over it. I can’t lie. Because I think what we forget is that when we filmed “Force Awakens”, it was about two years between then, before we started on “Last Jedi”, it just feels like you’re back in school, you know, and it’s fun. Every day was a new set. The practical effects I think like doubled in this movie, the sets were bigger and it’s always exciting and amazing, but as everybody has said, you still feel an intimacy when you’re doing these scenes, you know, and independent with a big ass budget.
  • Laura: I love, Oscar, how you described yesterday all of us watching the opening credits roll at the top as the lights went down, and even though all of us feel giddy that we’re excited about being part of this, suddenly you’re an obsessed fan, regardless.

Rebels Finn and Rose butt headsRebels Finn and Rose butt headsCourtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Q: Obviously the death of Han Solo is a huge moment in The Force Awakens. How impactful is that, without spoiling anything, to the characters who knew him in the last movie and the previous films?

  • John: I think we’re just keeping it moving, to be honest with you, man. It’s true, the pressure’s on man, you know, there’s no time. I think that’s the one thing that’s unique to me about watching this movie was just the commentary on war. I think there hasn’t been a Star Wars movie yet that has explored war in the way The Last Jedi does. It’s very messy. In terms of Han, I’m sure we all feel sentimental if someone was to sit Finn down or sit Rey down, but Rey’s off training, she’s got stuff to do. I’ve got back injury, I’ve got stuff to do. I can’t think about Han at the moment.
  • Oscar: I mean, I think it’s reverberating but he’s right. You know, it’s a dire situation, it’s critical. The resistance is on its last legs. You know, they’re trying to survive. First Order’s right on top of us. You just keep moving to try to survive, You feel the momentum of everything that happened in The Force Awakens just pushing and getting to a critical mass in this film.
  • Daisy: Rey at least is very much affected by it. She has been alone for a really long time and she’s really open to love and friendship, so Finn and BB-8 come along and it’s like this amazing adventure. And then Han, she seeks something from him because there’s an intimacy and there’s a sort of figure of something she’s never dreamed of getting snatched away. Rey’s trying to get to grips with everything going on. She’s worried about Finn at home, so I would say she’s maybe a little more affected, at least emotionally on screen, than the others.

Poe Dameron rushes to his X-wing fighterPoe Dameron rushes to his X-wing fighter

Q: Ladies in the film, Carrie Fisher is sadly no longer with us. Can you talk about the impact Princess Leia had on generations of young girls?

  • Gwendoline: Well, she was very significant because I was first shown A New Hope when I was six, and I remember thinking, “Wow, that character’s really different”. It stayed with me throughout my formative years, that she’s really interesting, she’s really smart, she’s really funny, she’s courageous, she’s bold, she doesn’t care what people think, and she isn’t prepared to be told what to do. And she doesn’t look the same as a sort of homogenized presentation of a woman that we had been used to seeing.
  • So that was really instrumental to me as someone that didn’t feel like they fitted that homogenized view of what a woman was supposed to be. There was inspiration there, that you could be an individual and celebrate yourself and be successful without giving yourself over or making a terrible compromise., without necessarily making some sort of terrible, huge compromise. So (Leia) was a big inspiration for me.
  • Laura: She made a profound impact on me as a girl. We always had with Carrie, not just Leia, her wisdom. People speak about people who are brave or fearless, but beyond that, I’ve known luckily a few people that would hold those descriptions, but not that they would be without shame, and that’s what moved me the most about the icon she gave us, but also what she gave us individually and personally. Carrie shared her story, and to expect nothing less from any of us. (In this film) Rian beautifully captured all of that and her grace in this amazing, beautiful, pure performance.
  • Daisy: I don’t think I can really follow that, except to just say Carrie’s daughter Billie (Lord) is I think all of those qualities. She’s smart and funny and shameless and wonderful. I think Carrie bringing up a daughter who has all of those qualities and then some, in this world, just her being her, I think it speaks volumes to what she did as her in the spotlight and also her as Leia.
  • Kelly: Yeah, I mean, I agree with everything that was said. I think that something about Carrie that I really look up to is just how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform or when possibly a lot of people will be looking at you, and she was so unapologetic and so openly herself and that is something that I am really trying to do, and it’s hard. And just like Daisy, Laura and Gwendoline said, I think that she will always be an icon as Leia but also as Carrie. What an example, you know? And I am so fortunate to have met her and I think that she will really live on forever.

Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

See Star Wars The Last Jedi in theaters Friday, December 15th!

 

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