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‘Star Wars’ Director Rian Johnson Kept the Script Safe on an ‘Air-Gapped’ MacBook Air

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The script for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was undoubtedly one of the closest-guarded secrets in Hollywood last year, and director Rian Johnson employed a fairly simple tactic to prevent spoilers for the film leaking out.

With today’s methods of stealing these secrets, it’s clear that you’ve got to find ways to keep them under wraps. It turns out the all Mr. Johnson did to keep the script safe from leaks was to type in on a MacBook Air that he never connected to the internet, thus drastically reducing the risk of the script falling in to the wrong hands.

“I typed Episode VIII out on a MacBook Air. For security it was ‘air-gapped’ — never connected to the internet,” Rian Johnson told the Wall Street Journal in an interview. “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.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s what George R.R. Martin does with A Song of Ice and Fire – the difference being he uses an old DOS machine that can’t physically connect to the internet.

No internet connection means one’s computer can’t be remotely access by hackers, and it significantly reduces one’s chances of being infected by malware. It’s not totally clear whether he did take it with home on the go to write, but that would be a bit of a risk.

A clever strategy from Rian Johnson, as working offline ensured his screenplay was kept safe on the MacBook Air, before being stowed away in the vaults of Pinewood Studios. Combating leaks and unsolicited spoilers is a very real problem for Hollywood’s studios, particularly for a franchise with a big, impassioned following like Star Wars.

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  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “I think my producer was constantly horrified I would leave it in a coffee shop.” I wish he DID lose it, that script needed a rewrite.

  • FragilityG4

    For me it was a fantastic film. I like how it went to a really dark place for all the characters. I only have a couple problems but I won’t write about it here as they would be spoilers. I think those concerns/questions will be answered in the next film.

  • Jay

    I too really enjoyed the movie… until I thought about it on the way home… made no sense when you think about it

    entertaining but kind of ruins the series, I get the outrage

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I think this movie was the Apple hump battery case of the series – good intention, but bad execution. I think Disney secretly is reducing the quality of the movie without telling anyone – I would pay $29 to get a fresh plot.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I don’t think Disney should have removed the Luke Skywalker jack from the movie. This movie is a dongle.

  • FragilityG4

    I have watched it a few times now and feel the same as when I first watched it. It’s nice to see it go in a different direction especially with all the complaints that Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope.

  • FragilityG4

    That jacket isn’t gone, just a different material— think Obi Wan.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    lol I think you missed the joke. Since this an Apple blog I thought it would be fun to compare Apple’s decisions to Disney’s. Apple removed the headphone jack and Disney removed Luke. Both decisions are as dumb as a dongle.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Jedi was the Windows Phone of the series. Take away the good taste of an iPhone design, sprinkle in inferior apps (inferior jokes, inferior plot and inferior character development in the case of the movie) and presto – you have a divisive product that some people love for some strange reason, but people with any sense give a bad audience/user experience rating (49% on Rotten Tomatoes)

  • FragilityG4

    Hey I’m not trying to convince you to like it, I enjoyed and so did a lot of people. I’m just saying to not make a blanket statement that includes everyone when your underlining message does apply to everyone.

  • FragilityG4

    Oh I didn’t miss it. I just rather not get into one of those arguments with you again. I’m quite tired of it.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I’m just talking about good taste. Look up a video clip of Steve Jobs talking about it – he thought it was important. I think talking about good taste in an Apple blog post about Star Wars is fair game.

  • raslucas

    I was kind of expecting the rebels to be double-crossed and Rey losing a foot in a battle with her brother…. it didn’t go down like that… and I guess I’m ok with that.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    But you stated talking about a jacket. That was on purpose?

  • FragilityG4

    Geez this was two days ago. Find another hobby.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Yeah, Star Wars is old news. But I’m glad the jacket isn’t gone, but is a different material.

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