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‘The Last Jedi’ Novelization Author On the Writing Process, the Movie, and Actors’ Takes on Character Arcs

Discussion in 'SWNN News Feed' started by SWNN Probe, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    Jason Fry has written for Star Wars for a long time now, having worked on several books before and after the Lucasfilm acquisition by Disney in 2012. Perhaps the title he's most known for of late is the novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, titled The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition (make sure to check out here some additional details that were included in the novel that were not in the movie). Recently, he was part of a Q&A with Reddit users from r/adamdriverfans, where they asked him a lot of questions about his process working on the novel, as well as the collaboration process with the filmmakers. The author himself confirmed on Twitter this was him, congratulating Reddit users on their questions.



    Fry was approached to do the project in summer 2016, though he can only guess why Lucasfilm picked him:



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    Perhaps one of the most appealing questions to ask any writer in charge of the novelization of a Star Wars movie is how does work start? Did he see the movie and then start typing it out? Apparently, not. In fact, his only reference point was a copy of the script of the movie, which wasn't even the final draft. As he explains it:



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    Apparently, director Rian Johnson was a huge help for him during the writing process:



    He doubled down praising Johnson, who apparently gave him one of his favorite pieces of advice ever:



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    According to Jason Fry, the hardest scenes to pull off in The Last Jedi novelization were not the huge, crazy action sequences we see in space or the lightsaber battle in Snoke's Throne Room, but perhaps the quietest moment in the movie (except for the one silent moment, of course) -- in particular, the scenes that enraged a lot of Star Wars fans all around the world. (Sidebar: Rashomon is an Akira Kurosawa movie from 1950 that heavily influenced this part of the movie).



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    A question often asked of novelization authors is how much freedom do they have to pitch their own ideas and add their own input into the story? Here's Fry's extensive answer:



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    He continued to describe a few other scenes from the novel that came from his mind, or late-in-the-game inputs from people around him:



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    Fry goes on record to give his personal thoughts about the movie itself, The Last Jedi:



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    Jason Fry was also asked about Hux, a character that, according to him, was drastically changed in the sequel to this movie:



    Whether you agree with his take or not, the comparison between Hux and Motti is an interesting one, especially since we've always been talking about Hux as the new Tarkin.



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    Perhaps one of the most interesting takes given by Jason Fry on this Q&A came when he was asked about the actors' involvement in his story. He quickly responded that indeed, no actor had anything to say about their arcs in the novel. The only person who could have told him anything was writer and director Rian Johnson, who offered any help he needed. However, Fry decided to leave him alone after he'd completed a $200 million Star Wars movie. Fry had this to say about actors' takes on their characters:



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    But he talked about many more people than Mark Hamill:



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    However, it isn't all flowers to Finn and Rose in The Last Jedi, because Fry also had some reservations about some particular moments:



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    When asked about the hardest characters and character arcs to write, Fry looks back on his experience writing for all of the main players in The Last Jedi:



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    As for the easiest scene for him, that's an easy question:



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    He was then asked about Ben Solo and his relationship with Luke. When answering that, he couldn't resist gushing over the return of Harrison Ford's Han Solo via Ben's memory as the final step in his return to the light:



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    He added that he believes we will see, at some point in the future, the full story behind Ben Solo turning into Kylo, and that he'd love to write it, naturally. A few questions about Kylo's mind followed up. For example, he weighed in about how Kylo Ren is not a particularly reliable narrator:



    The sequel to the story had the final part of Kylo's arc in the trilogy, in which the character turned back into Ben Solo. To some people, that came as a surprise given where we left him in The Last Jedi. Here's what Fry had to say about it:



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    One of the fan theories circulating as the sequel trilogy was unfolding was that Rey would eventually fall to the dark side. Fry didn't really see it that way:



    The Last Jedi had some interesting parallels to previous entries in the Star Wars franchise, and Fry talked about one of them. About Luke's vision of Kylo falling to the dark side, he said:



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    In the Throne Room, Kylo asked Rey to partner with him and leave everything else behind. Fry commented on this moment, and what it meant for both characters:



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    That connection between the two was defined in The Rise of Skywalker as a dyad in the force. Fry didn't know about that back when he wrote the novel:



    He also added later that he had no idea what the plans for The Rise of Skywalker were. He concluded by answering whether or not, based on the events prior to Episode IX, if he saw the fate of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo coming:



    And so concluded the Q&A. Novelizations of the Star Wars films have a long history, and it is always good to get insight into the creative process of adapting these massive movies into their novel counterparts from the writers themselves. While we included most of the Q&A here, for the entire set, head to the link to Reddit at the top of the article.



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    #1 SWNN Probe, Sep 15, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  2. Grand Master Galen Marek

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    Great Q&A by this guy.
     
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