At this point, to say that The Last Jedi is a divisive entry in the Star Wars canon would be a vast understatement. Even though the film was a rousing financial success with more than $1 billion earned worldwide and was well-received by critics, the middle chapter in Disney’s new trilogy caused quite the fissure in the Star Wars fan community. With the release of The Last Jedi on Blu-ray and 4K last week, it’s safe to assume that the majority of people who purchase the movie on home video enjoyed it when they saw it theaters. However, after spending some time listening to writer-director Rian Johnson’s commentary track and watching the generous helping of included special features, I’d strongly advocate for anyone who found themselves feeling disappointed or even betrayed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi to pick up or at least find a way to watch the Blu-ray. Johnson is front-and-center in most of the features and provides in-depth insights into his thought process behind some of the film’s most controversial scenes, as well as some humorous and charming asides along the way that highlight specific actors, the editing process, and pretty much everything that goes into making a Star Wars movie. It’s quite possible that a fair number of the film’s very vocal critics will at least walk away from the Blu-ray with a new appreciation for Johnson’s creative decisions, even if they still don’t necessarily agree with them.
The director’s commentary is where you’ll get the most insight into how The Last Jedi came together and I’d highly recommend giving it a listen. It’s hard not to be charmed by Rian Johnson’s evident affection for Star Wars and the entire process of getting to make a movie of this scale, though I do wish that there was another track with more of the cast and crew involved, so as to at least create more of a dialogue around the film and Johnson’s creative choices (how great would it have been to get Mark Hamill on there with him?).
Like most movies, the deleted scenes run the gamut from important to totally expendable. The two that stand out as being scenes that arguably should have stayed in the movie are a brief moment where we see Luke silently grapple with the news of Han’s death, as well as an extended Luke/Rey scene that expands the world of the alien nun caretakers, as well as revealing more of Luke’s propensity for mean-spirited pranks. But the scene’s true merits lie with delving deeper into Luke’s reasons for abandoning his family, friends, and the Jedi Order, which could have only helped the film as a whole given how controversial Luke’s characterization proved to be. We also get to see Tom Hardy’s cut scene as a Stormtrooper who recognizes Finn aboard Snoke’s ship and while it’s interesting, I’m glad it was cut given how out-of-place Hardy’s hokey performance feels.