Star Wars 8 cast were told to watch these six movies by director Rian Johnson before filming

Way before cameras started rolling on Star Wars 8 director Rian Johnson handed out some of the coolest homework ever to his cast. They had to watch half a dozen movies. Lots of filmmakers screen movies for their cast and crew ahead of production to convey the tone and vibe they're going for, and knowing in advance what they are might give us an inkling of what to expect from the finished product. To inspire the Star Wars 8 gang, Johnson had them embark on a classic movie marathon with these six titles: 

• Twelve O'Clock High (1949)  

• The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)  

• Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)  

• Letter Never Sent (1960)  

• Gunga Din (1939) 

• Sahara (1943) 

What does this tell us about Episode 8? War is prevalent across all of the movies, and one that we kinda expected. It's not called Star Wars for nothing.  
Then there's the overriding themes of honor, being a powerful leader and experiencing the sting of betrayal. Okay, so there's a lot of general similarities that these movies share with pretty much EVERY Star Wars film.

Johnson says that out of all of them, Twelve O'Clock High influenced him the most. Gregory Peck stars as a US Air Force squadron leader tasked with overseeing daylight raids on German troops; an unpopular position that forces him to adapt and guide his men on some incredibly dangerous missions. Sounds like a classic good vs. evil battle to us, but who will take on the role of the fearless leader in the sequel? Rey and Finn seem like obvious choices, but who knows, it might even be Kylo Ren. 

Directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, and Benicio del Toro, Star Wars: Episode 8 opens in cinemas on December 15, 2017. 

Images: Lucasfilm, Disney 

Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.