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'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' director kept script safe from leaking with 'air-gapped' MacBook Air

Rian Johnson, the writer and director of "Star Wars: the Last Jedi," has explained how he protected the screenplay for the latest film in the blockbuster franchise from being leaked online: by using a MacBook Air that had been kept from accessing the Internet.




The director took multiple precautions to keep the screenplay out of eager fans of the movie series, advising of the use of a MacBook Air in the Wall Street Journal's My Tech Essentials column. According to Johnson, the MacBook Air was the only device used for the initial production of the script, with considerable efforts made to keep it a secret.

For security it was 'air-gapped,' never connected to the Internet, said Johnson. In security circles, air-gapping a device prevents any software updates or other unwanted items from being installed onto the computer, effectively blocking any data from leaving the device, as well as stopping the installation of any software or malware that could force open a connection and allowing any data to leak out to third parties.

"I carried it around and used it for nothing except writing the script," the director notes, adding that it was kept in a safe within Pinewood Studios when not in use. "I think my producer was constantly horrified I would leave it in a coffee shop."

While on set, Johnson took a considerable number of photos, but in a way that made it harder for images to be uploaded to the Internet. He used a Leica M6 35mm film camera from the '80s as well as a ton of very high-speed, black-and-white film, which he kept on his shoulder and photographed with every day, ending the shoot with a couple thousand film stills.

Johnson is not averse to technology, confessing that he had wracked up significant time with 'Desert Golfing' on my iPhone X. Calling it "a lovely little app" and "so stupid," the director claims not to remember which "horrible friend" recommended it to him, but wished to "punch that person in the face" after playing more than 1,500 holes in the game.

Other picks on the list include a 1960s-era Omega Speedmaster Pro watch, Moleskine A4-size soft cover sketchbooks used for storyboards, and episodes of The History of Rome podcast.