Adventures in Jedi School is a Star Wars spoof series from Cracked Studios (Cracked.com). We sat down with Jedi School creator and writer Cody Johnston for a quick chat about the series, and delved into the humor of the Star Wars universe. Check out the interview below.
Geek & Sundry: Thanks for joining us, Cody! Cracked mainly does stand alone sketches. What was the idea behind making an entire series for Adventures in Jedi School?
Cody Johnston: I wanted it to be a positive experience for the cast/crew. Not in the sense of “let’s all go [mess] around and have fun in the woods for a week” but more about how if you shoot something for more than a day, you take more ownership of it. The next day, you get in the groove, you get more comfortable, and you have more fun. You end up caring more because of the time and the people, and that makes you work even harder. I think those kinds of experiences often make for a better final product, because you can feel that exhausting joy and hard work coming through the screen. Everyone on that shoot worked so hard and got so little sleep, but had fun doing it, and I think that comes through in the series.
G&S: Jedi School is packed with Star Wars references and jokes. Can you explain the writing process for the
series for us?
CJ: I would write drafts and then the group would get together and we would discuss story beats, jokes that didn’t work, observations we could add, etc. And then I would take more passes on the scripts. Some of the choices and observations came from those conversations. Particularly, I had a lot of talks with our amazing director Abe Epperson about the story and what we want to accomplish. But in terms of all of the actual dialogue/jokes (minus Michael’s great “that’s not to scale” improv), it came from me… I’m very proud of how the show came out, and I’m particularly proud of all of the dialogue and jokes within the series. It’s really silly, and I love that about it.
G&S: Do you have a favorite joke from the series?
CJ: When you see the Master after he’s fallen and he says,“Something I said when I
was alive.” That’s my favorite.
G&S: We’re big fans of the Death Star jokes. How many are Death Stars are in your version of the Star Wars universe?
CJ:Total? Somewhere between 40 and 80. It was an evolving process. The script originally had “And then there were jokes in the sky.” It wasn’t really planned at first. It’s the idea of having an evolution of Death Stars. The Empire builds the first and it’s destroyed, so they build another and so on. By the time of our series, it’s like nuclear warheads, everyone has [a Death Star]!
G&S: Sounds like the crew had a great time on set. Do you have any funny stories from filming?
CJ: Soren Bowie’s character (incidentally my favorite character name, “Meaners Badso”) originally had two red eyes. Soren has never worn contacts, and was having trouble on the first day. At one point, his left contact seemed to disappear and was causing him great discomfort. After a long search on the ground, we eventually discovered that it had drifted up underneath his eyelid and was stuck up above his eye. Apparently his eye might be shaped weird, so we scrapped one of them, which made him very happy. Or, at least, as happy as he could be with all those hours of green makeup and head tentacles. So that’s why he has just one red eye, and one eye that is whatever color his eyes really are. I’m partially colorblind, so I can’t be more specific than that!
G&S: Were you aware of real life Jedi Academy training classes before making the series?
CJ: I found out after the fact, but I’d always wanted to make a silly thing about Jedi at school. Our team went to Comikaze in Los Angeles and found lightsaber training!
G&S: A very serious question- what color would your lightsaber be?
CJ: I always wanted a yellow lightsaber.
G&S: We really enjoyed the series. Any future plans for Adventures in Jedi School?
CJ: We’ll see. I’m proud to have been able to write something made by all of the amazing crew and comedians. The costumes, the makeup, the art direction, the cinematography, everything looked like Star Wars, and that’s no easy feat on a shoestring budget. We learned a lot of lessons making it and I’d love to make more Star Wars related content. It’d just be packed with more jokes!
Interview by Brittany Sandler. Follow her on Twitter!