Rian Johnson Explains Why There’s No Funeral for Han Solo in ‘The Last Jedi’
Going into Star Wars: The Last Jedi, some fans were curious to see how writer/director Rian Johnson’s sequel would address the death of Han Solo from The Force Awakens. Harrison Ford’s iconic character was a massive piece of the Star Wars puzzle, and his absence would certainly have reverberations for the characters that knew him directly. But while The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens left off, the film very much moves full-speed ahead from the get-go, and there’s not a ton of time for the characters to sit down and contemplate Han’s absence.
Of course J.J. Abrams gave the character’s death some beautiful moments at the end of The Force Awakens, so there really wasn’t a need to explicitly slow down and once again mourn the loss of this beloved character. Still, some fans felt a funeral for Han Solo was appropriate, so during an exclusive Q&A with Collider’s own Steve Weintraub after Collider’s IMAX screening of The Last Jedi, Johnson explained why they never considered including a funeral for Han Solo:
“[There was no debate of showing Han Solo’s funeral], just because pacing-wise it didn’t have a place. It’s tough in Star Wars because I always think about the mourning that Luke gives to Ben’s death, which is all of four-and-a-half seconds before, ‘Come on kid we’re not out of this yet’ and then boom, you’re into ‘Yay, woo-hoo! Don’t get cocky!’ There’s the moment for it, but it’s not long. We don’t have time for our sorrows, commanders. That’s kind of the thing of Star Wars; you don’t really linger on grief because you’re moving forward.”
Johnson said they did linger a bit on a moment with Leia, but reiterated that for pacing reasons, there was never any serious discussion about including Han Solo’s funeral explicitly in the film:
“I think we do it a little more in this movie than typically is done. I really held onto that moment of Leia before they come out of hyperspace, just that moment of feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders… It was never something where there was an organic place for it like, ‘Oh it would go here.’ It was always something like, ‘We wanna get this right up on our feet and going from the start’.”
It’s clear Johnson looked closely at the Star Wars films that came before his to ensure what he was doing was in keeping with how the franchise traditionally plays out, and he’s right that if the film had stopped for a big funeral scene, the pacing would have been thrown off. There’s a momentum to The Last Jedi from the very first sequence, and it’s that “ticking clock” of the slow space chase that provides tension throughout.
Click here for what Johnson had to say about deleted scenes. Look for much more from our conversation with Johnson, as well as the full 70-minute Q&A video, on Collider soon.