ByTino Jochimsen, writer at Creators.co
The bald minority at Moviepilot.
Tino Jochimsen

Warning: You'll probably want to renew your Hulu Plus subscription after this.

As you've probably heard, Looper director Rian Johnson is soon heading over to a galaxy far far away in order to film Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Not much is known about Star Wars: Episode VII (except if certain spoilers actually turn out to be true), and consequently much less about Star Wars: Episode VIII. BUT Johnson recently revealed (on the Filmspotting podcast) the films he is currently screening for his crew as preparation for the galactic task ahead. They include Henry King's Twelve O'Clock High and Mikhail Kalatozov's Letter Never Sent.

Now what does the inclusion of these two films tell us?

Twelve O'Clock High is a WW II flick about the high costs war demands of a bomber unit which regularly suffers a great loss of pilots. The commander of said squadron (Gregory Peck) knows that the only way to lose less men is to be tough-as-nails and whip them into shape.

Letter Never Sent is a Russian adventure movie about four geologists searching for diamonds in the wilderness of Siberia who find themselves in a desperate fight for survival. Here's the stunning opening shot:

Why did Johnson screen these two movies?

On a purely visual level, Twelve O'Clock High has plenty of aerial battle scenes that could be referenced easily (much like Howard Hughes Hell's Angels was referenced in A New Hope). While I haven't seen Letter Never Sent, everything I read hints into the direction of a spectacularly photographed movie, making the most of the unruly Siberian landscape.

It's on the thematic level though that things get interesting. While Twelve O'Clock High deals with pilots under immense pressure during warfare, Letters Never Sent showcases a desperate fight for survival in an inhospitable environment.

How could these different plot elements find their way into Star Wars? Feel free to drop your [Star Wars: Episode VIII](movie:711868) plot theories in the comment section below!

Why do you think these films were chosen?

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