While Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be the longest Star Wars movie yet at just a hair over two and a half hours, the first cut of the film was considerably longer. Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson at the press day for the upcoming sequel, and the filmmaker revealed that his initial cut of the film ran over three hours. Almost every film gets shortened during the editing process as the filmmaker fine-tunes the story and pacing, but The Last Jedi marks a notable case given that Star Wars fans will want to pore over every single bit of footage available.
Johnson noted that while The Last Jedi’s final runtime is lengthy, the filmmaker knew this was always going to be a long movie ever since he put together the first cut:
“We had a long movie from the start. It was well over three hours, the first cut… It’s much better at two and a half [hours] than it was at over three, but it was a cut I had put together, is where we started. And it was over three hours.”
The filmmaker said it wasn’t just bits and pieces of scenes here and there that got removed—whole sequences were taken out of the film. And the good news is you can expect a lot of these Star Wars: The Last Jedi deleted scenes to end up on the Blu-ray:
“A lot of really good stuff came out in the edit. I actually just reviewed the deleted scenes we’re gonna have on the Blu-ray. There’s a bunch of—some of my favorite scenes ended up having to come out just structurally… There’s a lot of really substantial, really good scenes. There’s a couple whole sequences actually that we lifted out. It’s weirdly—and this always happens—it’s like your babies you have to kill. It’s some of my favorite stuff from the movie.”
However, if you’re hoping to see that three-hour cut someday, don’t hold your breath. Johnson says he’s not crazy about releasing “extended cuts,” so these deleted scenes won’t be put back into the movie to result in a different cut of the film:
“I’m really not into [releasing an extended cut]. I feel like the cut is what it is because I feel like it’s the best version of the movie, so the ‘director’s cut’ is the movie that’s going out in theaters. All the deleted scenes, no matter how much I love them, they came out for a reason and it’s all for the greater good of the movie itself. You can watch the deleted scenes on their own, I think that’s the way to watch them, but the movie is definitely the best version of the movie I think.”
So while it’s exciting to know that at two and a half hours we’re going to get a meaty Star Wars movie in The Last Jedi, rest assured knowing there’s even more new footage coming our way when the film hits home video.