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How Rian Johnson kept the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ script a secret

Published Jan 12th, 2018 9:42PM EST
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

We had so many theories two years ago about what we had seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and we all waited for Episode VIII to answer some of the many questions that J.J. Abrams made us ask.

But we never really expected the Episode VIII script to leak ahead of the movie’s launch. Studios are usually very protective of such projects, especially of movies and TV series that draw huge crowds. Now that The Last Jedi premiered, we finally know what Disney and Rian Johnson did to keep the screenplay a secret.

It’s actually a pretty “boring” measure that involves writing the script on an air-gapped computer. “Air-gapping” a computer means that you never connect it to the internet. That way, the script can’t be stolen accidentally by hackers that would somehow break into your computer.

The revelation comes from Johnson himself, who told The Wall Street Journal that it was a MacBook Air the computer he used for the screenplay:

I typed Episode VIII out on a MacBook Air. For security it was “air-gapped”—never connected to the internet. I carried it around and used it for nothing except writing the script. I kept it in a safe at Pinewood Studios. I think my producer was constantly horrified I would leave it in a coffee shop.

Other than not joining any Wi-Fi networks and keeping the laptop in a safe, Johnson did little to protect the script. And he implies that he may have taken the laptop with him to several places, much to the horror of his producer.

Johnson will probably keep using that Air to create a brand new Star Wars trilogy for Disney.

While writing the The Last Jedi script, the writer/director was listening to the The History of Rome podcast, probably on a device that was connected to the internet, drawing inspiration from those stories about war, family dynamics, and family politics.

Johnson also told The Journal that he used seven or eight Moleskin A4-size soft cover sketchbooks to draw storyboards featuring stick figures characters. On the set, he used a Leica M6 35mm film camera to take thousands of film stills.

For more The Last Jedi secrets, check Disney’s latest video.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.