Rian Johnson will be making his Star Wars directorial debut when The Last Jedi rolls into theaters this holiday, but it turns out he's already influenced the direction of the saga. According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Johnson said he approached JJ Abrams and asked if he could change the ending of The Force Awakens. Just a little bit.
"The big [favor] was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance. Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, 'Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?'"
I know, it's two seconds of a character shot from far away. It might not seem like a major shift for The Force Awakens, but Johnson told EW that it allowed for both TFA and The Last Jedi to echo the events of The Empire Strikes Back. In that film (as if anyone needed reminding), it was R2-D2 who went with Luke as he traveled to find and train under Yoda.
Some people will no doubt take issue with this, because it's Star Wars and the direction a multi-billion dollar franchise takes is never going to please everyone. But I think it's a nice touch to make it be the same droid now accompanying Rey as she travels to meet a long-lost Jedi Master. Sort of like the old guard passing the torch to the new generation. It also means that Luke and R2-D2 can have an excuse to reunite in The Last Jedi, which will hopefully be a joyful time filled with many whoops and beeps.