WARNING: There's a major spoiler for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in this post, so if you haven't seen it yet, you should probably revisit this post when you have.
There are a number of pretty huge moments nestled into Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the biggest of them being when Kylo Ren uses the Force to slice Supreme Leader Snoke clean in half, further cementing his mantra throughout the film of killing the past. It's one of the most striking scenes in the film, but also one of the most disappointing for fans who hoped they'd get more from Snoke than his appearance in The Force Awakens and the relatively little he did in The Last Jedi.
Rian Johnson, writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, addressed this recently during a Q&A after a screening of the film, and Entertainment Weekly was on-hand to experience what ended up being an interesting (and seemingly necessary) decision on Johnson's part.
"When I was working on the character of Kylo," Johnson began, "I came to a place where I thought the most interesting thing would be to knock the shaky foundation out from under him at the beginning of this movie… By the end of this film, he’s gone from being a wannabe Vader to someone who is standing on his own feet as a complex villain taking the reins."
"But then the question is," Johnson continued, "What place would Snoke have at the end of that? That made me realize the most interesting thing would be to eliminate that dynamic between the ‘emperor’ and pupil, so that all bets are off going into the next one. That also led to the possibility of this dramatic turn in the middle, which could also be a really powerful connection point between Kylo and Rey."
So, basically, Johnson knew that Kylo Ren's arc would have him being a supreme badass come the film's end, which he knew would end with a huge question mark going into Episode IX. That meant keeping Snoke around wouldn't be a necessity, and in Johnson's eyes, the dynamic of Ren eliminating Snoke was exciting.
For The Last Jedi, which feels like one of the more polarizing Star Wars films of some time, you can't ultimately win with the fans. He switched up a lot, and left the past behind, which makes a viewer like me wonder if Kylo Ren was speaking to Rey and the audience when he kept drilling that idea into her head. Either way, Johnson's got people talking, so he won.