One of the biggest questions to emerge out of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is what Finn John Boyega intended to tell Rey Daisy Ridley moments before a near-death experience on the desert planet of Pasaana. The script, written by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio, never reveals what Finn planed to say to Rey, hough it does have Poe Oscar Isaac nag Finn several times throughout the film about his intended message. It appears that Finn wanted to tell Rey he loved her just as they were dying, but that’s not the case according to Abrams or Boyega.
At an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screening of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” over the weekend, Abrams revealed via Mashable that what Finn wanted to tell Rey was that he is Force sensitive. Fans have speculated about Finn’s relationship to the Force ever since “The Force Awakens.” Much of “The Rise of Skywalker” finds Finn sensing the Force, and he even befriends a fellow former Stormtrooper named Jannah Naomi Ackie who experiences a similar sensitivity.
Boyega took to social media to tell “Star Wars” fans, “No, Finn wasn't going to say I love you before sinking!” The reveal is bound to polarize “Star Wars” fans as it’s somewhat odd and self-involved that the one thing Finn wanted to tell Rey before dying was that he had the Force, too. Telling Rey he loves her might have been predictable, but at least it’s a reasonable thing to want to get off your chest when you think you’re about to die.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opened at the U.S. box office to $175 million, making it one of the year’s biggest debuts but the lowest opening of the new “Star Wars” trilogy. The revelation of what Finn wanted to tell Rey is one of several story points being confirmed outside of the movie. The film’s opening setting is Mustafar, as revealed in the official “The Rise of Skywalker” companion book. “The Rise of Skywalker” is now playing in theaters nationwide.
No… Finn wasn't going to say I love you before sinking!
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
Now that he’s done with Star Wars, John Boyega is using his clout to get some new projects off the ground. The actor just signed a deal with Netflix through his production company, UpperRoom Productions, to develop non-English language films, with a focus on West and East Africa countries. The streaming service says its all part of a plan to reinforce its investment in African storytelling with projects developed in African countries.
John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions is teaming with Netflix to “develop film projects based on stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and/or other elements in or around African countries, with a focus on West and East Africa.” Boyega, who was recently seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is next set to appear in Chase Palmer’s Naked Singularity. He’s also set for the Netflix film Rebel Ridge, from director Jeremy Saulnier. Boyega previously came aboard the South African crime-thriller God Is Good as an executive producer and will also oversee the movie’s soundtrack.
“I am thrilled to partner with Netflix to develop a slate of non-English language feature films focused on African stories and my team and I are excited to develop original material,” said Boyega. “We are proud to grow this arm of our business with a company that shares our vision.” Boyega set up UpperRoom in 2016 as part of his producing role on Pacific Rim Uprising.
Netflix wants to increase its African created-based content, having recently announced production on its first original scripted series from Nigeria, the still-untilted Akin Omotoso Project. They’ve also announced other African originals, Blood & Water and Mama K’s Team 4, that will premiere later this year and join Netflix’s first Africa Original, Queen Sono, which dropped on February 28.
“Africa has a rich history in storytelling and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world,” said David Kosse, Vice President of International Film at Netflix.