The change in question came near to the start of the film, where Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) uses his unique personalised ‘TIE Silencer’ to try and hunt down and kill his mother Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), on the rebel ship – Ninka. The scene in The Last Jedi had to be altered during production after director Rian Johnson noticed something troubling in the prototype merchandise.
"Initially, the plan was to have missiles on the underside, and shoot them off, and that was it," Mike Mulholland, VFX Supervisor for Industrial Light and Magic London told the crowd at the VFX Festival held in East London last week. "But, halfway through production Rian got a toy, a prototype toy of the Kylo fighter. And they had the missiles on the side wings! So we went and redesigned a bit of it [in the movie] so that we could open it up and pop them out. I’ve heard of the toys’ influence in the past, but that was the first time for me," Mulholland said laughing.
In addition, this isn't the only comprise director Johnson had to make when it came to Star Wars ships, with Mulholland revealing that Johnson intended to return to the franchise’s historic method of using small models for some of the space battle scenes – like George Lucas did in the original trilogies. "In early conversations with Rian and his producer Ram [Bergman], the question was, how much can we do practically for the space battles?" Mulholland said.
Sadly, Johnson’s dreams never became reality, as the potential difficulties of this method set in. “The quick answer is, it’s quicker and easier and more flexible to do it in CG,” Mulholland concluded.