One of Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s most striking moments comes towards the end of the film, when Resistance bigwig Vice-Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) makes a dramatic decision to help stall the evil First Order while her allies escape.
Piloting the main Resistance cruiser on her own, Holdo takes the drastic step of beginning the jump into lightspeed while aimed directly at the main First Order ship, splitting it in half as she tears through it and buying her friends some much-needed time.
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It was a truly gobsmacking moment that has earned praise from viewers – but it’s also been criticised by certain fans. If this is such an effective mode of attack, they asked, why hasn’t it been tried before, even as a last resort? Hell, why didn’t they destroy the original Death Star this way?
The discrepancy has even led some to describe Holdo’s decision as something of a plot hole that remains unexplained by the finished film – but now The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has taken the time to explain why that’s simply not the case.
“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,’” Johnson told The /Filmcast.
“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 f-cking 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 pulled out of her butt in the moment.”
And if any viewers did doubt Johnson’s fan credentials, the director also recently revealed that the idea for the sequence came from a line of dialogue in the original trilogy, when Harrison Ford’s Han Solo warned of the dangers of hyperspace travel.
“I’m sure that a lot of fans had thought ever since Han was talking about how if you don’t get the calculations right you could go through [a star],” Johnson told the Empire Film Podcast.
“I always wanted to see what that would look like and the guys at ILM at some point, somebody hit upon that exposure idea of everything going silent. Because we were struggling with how do we make this visually impressive and when somebody hit on that, and that came up on the screen, we were just like, ohhh, this is going to be cool.”
And verily, it was. For that reason alone, we kind of hope a few more characters work out how to pull it off for use in Episode IX…
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in cinemas now