That final sequence was a challenge, however, for editor Bob Ducsay.
“It’s a purely cinematic scene. There’s no dialogue. There’s no action. It’s all emotion and character and figuring out exactly how to communicate to the audience what we want to communicate.” Ducsay continued, “We spent an enormous amount of time on it.”
Ducsay told HuffPost he felt the final cut was a success because it was both “nostalgic and hopeful.” But, after our hero artfully embarrassed the Dark Side’s Ren, some viewers were left wondering, “Why the heck did Luke have to disappear?”
“I don’t want to get too explicit, because I like people being able to have their own interpretations,” director Rian Johnson told HuffPost, “but I think definitely the act of what he does at the end literally just takes everything out of him. That’s a huge thing. Also ... he’s having his final act be something of myth-making in a way.”
It does go back a little bit to what he said at the beginning [of “The Last Jedi”]. “What do you think one guy walking out there with a lightsaber [can do]?” ... The answer is: Create a legend that will spread hope. And once he’s done that, combined with the physical toll it’s taken on him, you can make the case that then there’s nothing more powerful that he could accomplish.
Johnson said he knew early on that “The Last Jedi” was going to revolve around Skywalker’s journey to take on the “mantle of the legend of Luke Skywalker,” despite the fact that the disillusioned Jedi had rejected that characterization earlier in the film.
“The galaxy needs legends,” Johnson explained. “I think about the look in Rey’s eyes in ‘The Force Awakens,’ when she says, ‘Luke Skywalker, I thought he was a myth,’ and that gleam in her eyes. And I think about how I felt when I showed up to work the first day to meet with Mark Hamill, and I sat down and started talking to him, and I could only see Luke Skywalker. He made it very hard to talk, and [it’s] the idea that there’s value in that, in terms of inspiring us to fight the good fight and to be our best.”
Johnson was candid about Luke’s “death scene,” saying he was actually “dreading” it. But if it was going to happen, it had to be then, he argued.