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Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has become arguably the most polarizing film in the saga’s 40-year history, with many diehard fans questioning Rian Johnson’s plot points and character developments (or, in their opinion, lack thereof). Those criticisms are at least understandable, if misguided, but there’s one moment in the film that audiences apparently find so confounding, it’s prompted certain movie theaters to post disclaimers outside their auditoriums.
During the final third of The Last Jedi, Laura Dern’s Vice-Admiral Holdo turns a resistance ship 180 degrees and crashes into a First Order destroyer at light-speed, completely obliterating the craft. It’s a climactic moment in the film preceded by roughly 10 seconds of silence—but, apparently, several moviegoers interpreted Johnson’s creative decision as a technical glitch or premature end to the movie. As a result, AMC theaters have begun warning viewers of the heart-wrenching scene, assuring them that the silence “is intentionally done by the director for a creative effect.”
In a new interview with Collider, VFX supervisor Ben Morris explained the motives and technical specs behind the scene:
“We had always hoped that would resonate, both as a story beat and as a striking visual, and when I heard all of the cries and gasps in the silence, it was just fantastic. We realized that it worked. That’s never really happened in Star Wars before. On a creative and slightly technical level, it was based on physics photography of cloud chambers and high speed particles colliding with each other. We always talked about how this look would happen, where we’d drain all of the color out of the image. I think it shows strength, if you invert your normal concept of what space shots in Star Wars look like, with a white ship on a black background.”
Surely, AMC’s disclaimer won’t quell the righteous anger of lifelong fans who felt cheated by Johnson’s directorial discretion, nor will it prevent The Last Jedi from raking in cash hand over fist. If anything, it unwittingly serves as a sly admonishment of a culture that’s too impatient to fully embrace the impact of such a substantial cinematic decision.
Bryan Rolli is a reporter who specializes in streaming entertainment. He writes about music and film for Forbes, Billboard, and the Austin American-Statesman. He met Flavor Flav in two separate Las Vegas bowling alleys and still can’t stop talking about it.