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Rian Johnson Names the Six Classic Films That Inspired the Tone of ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’

Written by on July 18, 2016 

Star Wars Episode VIII

While the film that had the most direct influence on the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII is certainly J.J. AbramsThe Force Awakens, director Rian Johnson has shared some key inspiration when it comes to the tone and themes of his upcoming sci-fi sequel. While he previously stated two inspirations for the Star Wars saga’s next installment, that list has expanded, thanks his talk at Star Wars Celebration Europe.

The list includes six titles that Johnson encouraged the story group of Lucasfilm to watch before filming began, a thematic lookbook that features a mixture of beloved classics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai and lesser-known gems such as 1943’s Sahara. However, Twelve O’Clock High still stands as Johnson’s top pick for most influential. The most recent film on this list is from 1960, suggesting Johnson’s cinematic influences are less peer-based than deeply embedded in a more classical style.

See the films below (with a hat tip to IGN), along with their trailers, and let’s hope they are a bit more accurate than Abrams’ inspirations.

Twelve O’Clock High (Henry King, 1949)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957)

Three Outlaw Samurai (Hideo Gosha, 1964)

Letter Never Sent (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1960)

Gunga Din (George Stevens, 1939)

Sahara  (Zoltan Korda, 1943)

Star Wars: Episode VIII arrives on December 15, 2017, which gives you more than enough time to catch up on these cinematic touchstones.


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