Rian Johnson continued his apology tour and even used some less than pleasant language when he was asked about Vice Admiral Holdo’s suicide attack against the First Order’s Fleet towards the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Johnson appeared on Slash Film’s podcast and was asked why the suicide attack has never been seen before in Star Wars. They also pointed him to an article on The Ringer which believes the maneuver could break established Star Wars lore.
Johnson’s explains that Holdo is the first person in the Star Wars universe to use the maneuver and she just came up with in a moment of peril. However, he does say that Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo can build canon around the maneuver now.
First of all, has this been done before, period? I’ve got to reserve the right for [Story Group member] Pablo [Hidalgo] to build it back into canon, if he’s like, ‘Yeah, this is a thing and they outlawed it.’ I think there’s various ways you can go with it. But it’s not like it was the plan to do this. It’s a spur of the moment thing. It’s this idea that she gets and she sits down and fucking does, and it obviously takes everybody completely by surprise. It takes Hux by surprise. The fact that Hux doesn’t see it coming means it’s probably not a standard military maneuver. I think it was something that Holdo (laughs) pulled out of her butt in the moment.
Johnson then explains how he came up with the idea:
“The early idea I had was – and I storyboarded it all out – I had the silence thing as an idea from very early on. The notion of ‘how do you communicate the bigness of this, and the idea that this was all happening in a nanosecond?’ The notion that this event is out of time in a weird way, and communicate the bigness beyond being just a big explosion.”
So I had the silence thing and I boarded it out, and had the idea that it was going to be silent when we’re up close seeing all the destruction, and then we’ll cut back to the massive wide shot and only then would the sound catch up with you and you hear the big ‘boom.’ But the whole thing honestly didn’t click until our amazing wizards at ILM came upon the idea of that exposure shift. We had versions of it before that with just regularly lit ships, with streaks of white going through them, and it was nowhere near as impactful. It was when they showed this version of it to me that had this exposure shift, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that makes it all kind of click.’
Rian Johnson concludes:
You can see when it happens. It’s almost like the lights turn off on all the Star Destroyers. The Star Destroyers are silhouette black against the blinding light of the streaks where the debris has gone through the ships.”
What’s absent from the entire discussion is the actual introspective to understand how this maneuver would affect Star Wars lore or what the implications of it would be in future films. It once again shows Johnson’s lack of understanding of the actual Star Wars world and its lore. To me it seems he doesn’t even care about the lore and he was more interested in getting this big bang moment on camera instead of understanding why a tactic like this would never actually work in Star Wars.
As The Ringer correctly points out in Star Wars “Hyperspace jumps are plotted by computers, and droid ships are already a Star Wars staple. There’s no reason navies couldn’t construct unmanned ships to take on this task.”
This is a major plot hole and radically alters Star Wars lore.