By Devon Biroczky
A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to cover for Monica at the press junket for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest movie in the popular epic adventure series. Getting asked to cover a junket like this is huge. This series has always been such an outstanding part of today’s movie and nerd culture in general, so it was really incredible being able to attend and not only interview the cast, but also get to experience everything else this junket had to offer.
When we first got there, they had tons of different props set up alongside the hallway we were walking up and down, including merchandise like shirts, toys, stuffed animals, and shoes. SHOES.
After we had the chance to take a bunch of different photos of the merchandise, we entered a room where they asked you to choose a design. They had several to choose from, including popular droids R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8. Along with all of them, they also had a design for the newcomer species of Porgs as an option, and you already know that’s the one I had to choose. So from there, you choose between a black and gray t-shirt, and they take you to the press where they do the screen printing for you right then and there. Look at this! Each screen is a different color and layer for your design, which they press down onto your t-shirt and they spread the color on, and move the dryer over it in between each layers to prevent anything from smearing. I’ve never seen this done in person before so this was so much fun!
Then came the interviews, where we got to meet all of the below cast members from the movie:
· Mark Hamill (“Luke Skywalker”)
· Daisy Ridley (“Rey”)
· John Boyega (“Finn”)
· Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”)
· Adam Driver (“Kylo Ren”)
· Gwendoline Christie (“Captain Phasma”)
· Domhnall Gleeson (“General Hux”)
· Andy Serkis (“Supreme Leader Snoke”)
· Laura Dern (“Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”)
· Kelly Marie Tran (“Rose Tico”)
· Director Rian Johnson
What a lineup, am I right? It was moderated by Anthony Breznican, who writes about Star Wars for Entertainment Weekly.
Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose Tico, a new character for this movie. At one point, Anthony asked, “Is there any part of you that geeks out a little bit when you start working on a Star Wars film?” She responded, very matter of factly,
“Every part. I’m trying not to cry right now ‘cause this is so weird and different. Yeah, I feel like Rian has said this before but 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. So you’re constantly figuring out how can I figure 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?”
She was so down-to earth the entire time, and you can tell just how much she really loved being a part of this cast and entire experience.
Laura Dern went on to explain how well Rian Johnson, as director, does at taking each individual character, really discovering each character’s conflict, and exploring the light and the dark within each one. With a cast this size, it really is a huge deal to be able to have so much depth within each character.
Next, the conversation shifted to a discussion about the amount of females in the movies now. Daisy Ridley explained,
“I think what’s great about everyone is it’s not like she’s a girl, this is a guy, this is anything, everyone’s just, it’s just great characters that happily are falling into broader categories now, so I’m thrilled.”
Gwendoline agreed, telling us how excited she was to see a more representative selection of actors that were going to be in the Star Wars movies. Later on, she was asked about what role Leia played in her life growing up as a young Star Wars fan. Of course, Leia was played by the amazing Carrie Fisher, who Anthony says “isn’t here with us today except probably in spirit, giving everyone the finger from back there.” Gwendoline then told us she looked up to her growing up, thinking of Carrie as Leia;
“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.”
Speaking of some of the original Star Wars characters, Mark Hamill, who plays our beloved Luke Skywalker, was very careful with some of the information he was asked about. Keep in mind, when we attended this press junket, none of us had seen the movie yet at this point in time. So when questions would arise that may have given away too much information about the movie, everyone had to be very careful with their words. Although he did not give away any information pertaining directly to the plot of the movie, he did tell us that he definitely has more screentime in this movie, saying “I can promise you my part is twice as big as it was in The Force Awakens.”
One of my favorite answers from this junket came from Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren. The cast was asked what we would walk away learning from this movie, and his answer was awesome!
“Whatever your life is outside, whatever circumstances, whether there be death or drugs or birthdays, you know, whatever you bring it to the theater, you know, and whatever is happening in the movie, obviously where you are in your life, I think, speaks to you in a different way than anybody else so it’s hard thing to kind of blankly say, I think you’ll feel this, because again, we’re not you. You know, so that’s what I think. So maybe potentially nothing is what I’m trying to say.”
Overall, this entire press junket was a wonderful experience, and I’m entirely grateful to have been able to attend this. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters everywhere December 15th!
Devon Biroczky writes at Devon's Paige. She is a a newly-engaged 20-something just trying to figure things out in Southern California. She spends time working on cars, playing video games, experimenting with makeup and trying new looks. She loves entertainment, fun and fashion but she is "in-between," not plus-size, so the parts just don't fit in petite clothing... Such is her dilemma.