Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson had already started pre-production on Star Wars: The Last Jedi as J.J. Abrams was about to wrap shooting The Force Awakens, but when Johnson saw the way Abrams and co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan were wrapping things up he asked for a HUGE favor. Johnson had a concern with the final scene when Rey returns the lightsaber to Luke Skywalker on the secluded island and asked them to change the ending. It wasn’t what happened in the scene he that he took issue with, it was who was traveling with her on the Millennium Falcon. Johnson told Entertainment Weekly:
“Yes … The big [favor] was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance,” Johnson says. “Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, ‘Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?’”
Remember, R2-D2 had been sitting around in sleep-mode for most of the movie and like Luke Skywalker was almost completely absent from the movie altogether. So it kind of worked out nicely that two of the biggest characters in the Star Wars saga would be reunited once again. And for all you BB-8 fans, don’t worry, Johnson says there will be plenty of the ball droid rolling around in the Last Jedi with his buddy Poe Dameron.
Speaking of Luke Skywalker, Johnson also told EW that Skywalker will have a very central role in The Last Jedi:
“Figuring out where his head was at was the very first thing I had to do when writing the movie. I had to crack this. And it had to be something for me that first and foremost made sense. Why did Luke Skywalker go off to this island?” Johnson says. “That was the starting point, and that’s what the entire movie explores.”
Isn’t it suiting that R2 will be with Rey as she will likely begin Jedi training with Luke? It mirror’s perfectly the time Luke traveled to Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back to train with Yoda. Does that make R2-D2 the official Jedi training accessory? Also, on top of being reunited with his first light saber, I’m really looking forward Luke’s reunion with R2 and Chewbacca, I’m sure it will be especially emotional given the recent loss of one scruffy-lookin’ nerf herder.
Happy Star Wars Day, from one die-hard fan to all of you.
“May The Force Be With you!”