Rian Johnson really wanted to screen-test ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Gregory Wakeman
Rian Johnson really wanted to screen test Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Image by Disney)

Rian Johnson has opened up about putting the final touches on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, admitting that he pined for a test screening for the film in the weeks before its release.

Unfortunately, the huge amount of secrecy that surrounds the Star Wars franchise meant that Johnson was unable to preview the film to any audience.

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According to Screen Rant, Johnson made this admission during the director’s commentary for Knives Out, recalling how the uproarious reaction in the test screening for his hugely successful comedy mystery immediately calmed his nerves ahead of its release. 

“It was like a party in the theater,” remarked Johnson. “it was really fun. It was like the first time I was like ‘Oh wow, this actually plays. This is good.’ Which is really nice.” 

Rian Johnson attends the 92nd Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

This then provoked Johnson to discuss his efforts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. “That’s something on Star Wars, you can’t test Star Wars movies for a lot of different reasons.”

“I’ve always hated test screening, and when we were making Star Wars, at a certain point in the process you’re like ‘God, I would give my left arm to put this in front of 300 people in Burbank and just see how it plays.’”

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Of course, The Last Jedi actually proved to be rather divisive amongst Star Wars fans, some of whom attacked its plot, humour, and character arcs, while there were even those that criticized the film for being too progressive. 

But the fact that Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s reputation has steadily improved in the years since its release suggests that the film’s naysayers are finally catching up to his vision, especially in the wake of the poor response to The Rise Of Skywalker.