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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 12
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.
Soli
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    MacBook Air.... air gapped... there’s a clever pun in there somewhere.
    brian greenbaconstangSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Smart move from a security perspective, but I sure hope he was backing up that MBA regularly. No Time Machine backup if you're staying off the network.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 31
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,766member
    Smart move from a security perspective, but I sure hope he was backing up that MBA regularly. No Time Machine backup if you're staying off the network.
    He probably had a fe top notch encrypted drives too
  • Reply 4 of 31
    Smart move from a security perspective, but I sure hope he was backing up that MBA regularly. No Time Machine backup if you're staying off the network.
    Couldn’t he do Time Machine backups to an external drive plugged directly into the MBA?
    edited January 12 baconstangfirelockbonobobwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 5 of 31
    This story is as good as Star Wars itself...
    anton zuykovwozwoz
  • Reply 6 of 31
    He should have spent more time on the contents of the script, than it's security.  The movie wasn't very good in my opinion.  I don't care how this Trilogy ends now - I will RedBox the last movie.
    anton zuykovwozwozlibertyforallxzurattlhed
  • Reply 7 of 31
    Smart move from a security perspective, but I sure hope he was backing up that MBA regularly. No Time Machine backup if you're staying off the network.
    Couldn’t he do Time Machine backups to an external drive plugged directly into the MBA?
    I have no doubt that he would have used some sort of external drive as a backup and it would probably be kept in that safe when the MacBook was being used.

    Those of us who've been using Macs for a while started off using Time Machine with plugged in hard drives before WiFi became ubiquitous.  I always remember the first time I plugged a huge hard drive into my Mac and it came up with an alert along the lines of " That's a huge hard drive you've got there - Would you like me to do a Time Machine backup on it?"
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 8 of 31
    Speaking of external drives, I'm reminded of how Peter Jackson used Firewire iPods to move Lord of the Rings footage from New Zealand to Hollywood, as it was the most handy fast high-speed storage that was easily available at the time.
    baconstangtallest skilrandominternetpersonwatto_cobralolliverjony0
  • Reply 9 of 31
    alanaudio said:
    Smart move from a security perspective, but I sure hope he was backing up that MBA regularly. No Time Machine backup if you're staying off the network.
    Couldn’t he do Time Machine backups to an external drive plugged directly into the MBA?
    I have no doubt that he would have used some sort of external drive as a backup and it would probably be kept in that safe when the MacBook was being used.

    Those of us who've been using Macs for a while started off using Time Machine with plugged in hard drives before WiFi became ubiquitous.  I always remember the first time I plugged a huge hard drive into my Mac and it came up with an alert along the lines of " That's a huge hard drive you've got there - Would you like me to do a Time Machine backup on it?"
    Agreed.  But I would have thought he would have specifically mentioned his backup strategy since he's talking about the steps he took to protect the script.

    Personally, I've had 3 or 4 significant data losses over the years (decades) that were mitigated (or not!) by good backups.  Even so, until I started doing wireless backups, I could never maintain a consistent backup strategy.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 31
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,559member
    He should have let the script leak. Perhaps he could have received some help for the plot and character arcs. 
    wozwoztallest skillibertyforalltoddzrxstevenozsmaffei
  • Reply 11 of 31
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 208member
    Must agree there - Rian Johnson has still phailed to explain how the Empire can track all the ships in a Rebel flotilla through hyperspace ... but cannot even catch up with them (in the same time-frame that Finn can travel across the galaxy, play roulette, go to jail, ride a camel, and get back). The plot is embarrassing. Indeed, there is a petition by Star Wars fans to have Disney strike it from the official Star Wars canon (currently 85,000 votes): https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-have-disney-strike-star-wars-episode-viii-from-the-official-canon
    libertyforall
  • Reply 12 of 31
    wozwoz said:
    ...there is a petition by Star Wars fans to have Disney strike it from the official Star Wars canon (currently 85,000 votes): https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-have-disney-strike-star-wars-episode-viii-from-the-official-canon
    Fucking lol, they can’t hear you over their 30 billion dollars.
    jungmark said:
    He should have let the script leak. Perhaps he could have received some help for the plot and character arcs. 
    But but but but “empowered” purple-haired woman = good storytelling!
    This story is as good as Star Wars itself...
    I mean… you just know that if Rey hadn’t been there with him that Luke would have sucked the milk straight from the source.
    tmay
  • Reply 13 of 31
    wozwoz said:
    Must agree there - Rian Johnson has still phailed to explain how the Empire can track all the ships in a Rebel flotilla through hyperspace ... but cannot even catch up with them (in the same time-frame that Finn can travel across the galaxy, play roulette, go to jail, ride a camel, and get back). The plot is embarrassing. Indeed, there is a petition by Star Wars fans to have Disney strike it from the official Star Wars canon (currently 85,000 votes): https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-have-disney-strike-star-wars-episode-viii-from-the-official-canon
    LOL.  I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but yeah it was silly that a) all the ships moved at exactly same same speed so the good guys could neither pull away or be overtaken and b) the First Order couldn't just hyperspace a ship or two in front of the fleeing ships.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    How could anyone not love this guy? 

    An air-gapped computer or digital wallet is also recommended for keeping cryptocurrencies.
    edited January 12
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Rian sucks if you ask me, this Star Wars was really ho-hum.  My Dad and I both left the theater entertained but disappointed.  Disney and Rian specifically are ruining the franchise.  
    wozwoz
  • Reply 16 of 31
    Rian sucks if you ask me, this Star Wars was really ho-hum.  My Dad and I both left the theater entertained but disappointed.  Disney and Rian specifically are ruining the franchise.  
    As opposed to George Lucas who made such a fantastic job of Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Clone Wars? /s 

    I haven’t seen the new film yet but frankly from what I’ve seen of the previous two new movies I think I’ll like this.

    I have to admit I’m not a Star Wars fan like most fans and Star Trek bores the hell out of me (although I really enjoyed the new movies) so I’m not actually the best person to comment here.

    I frankly don’t see why people get so up in arms over a movie franchise like the Star Wars nerds. Luke Skywalker wasn’t that great of a hero and Darth Vader was never really a scary villain. In fact the only people who made the movies bearable were Han Solo and Cheebacca and they were only really comic relief. People complain about Jar Jar Binks but completely miss that the most annoying character in the series is C3PO and don’t even get me started on R2D2. Princess Leia? No one cared about her until Return of the Jedi when she was half naked you dirty perverts. Frankly Carrie Fisher was way more entertaining in Blues Brothers.

    There, I think I’ve annoyed Star Wars fans enough Mwahahahahahahaha
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 31
    The only Star Gwars movie I like is Revenge of the Sith, and it's in my pantheon of all-time greats.

    But, I'm not your average geek.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    Rian sucks if you ask me, this Star Wars was really ho-hum.  My Dad and I both left the theater entertained but disappointed.  Disney and Rian specifically are ruining the franchise.  
    I actually liked it a lot. Adam Driver made the movie for me with his acting, but there was enough innovation and interesting new directions for the characters that made it work as a piece for this trilogy. We'll see if JJ Abrams can elevate the final episode. And I'm really looking forward to whatever Rian Johnson does for his own spinoff trilogy.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,938member
    wozwoz said:
    Must agree there - Rian Johnson has still phailed to explain how the Empire can track all the ships in a Rebel flotilla through hyperspace ... but cannot even catch up with them (in the same time-frame that Finn can travel across the galaxy, play roulette, go to jail, ride a camel, and get back). The plot is embarrassing. Indeed, there is a petition by Star Wars fans to have Disney strike it from the official Star Wars canon (currently 85,000 votes): https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-have-disney-strike-star-wars-episode-viii-from-the-official-canon
    That petition is more embarrassing than any perceived plot holes. 
    tmay
  • Reply 20 of 31
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,559member
    wozwoz said:
    Must agree there - Rian Johnson has still phailed to explain how the Empire can track all the ships in a Rebel flotilla through hyperspace ... but cannot even catch up with them (in the same time-frame that Finn can travel across the galaxy, play roulette, go to jail, ride a camel, and get back). The plot is embarrassing. Indeed, there is a petition by Star Wars fans to have Disney strike it from the official Star Wars canon (currently 85,000 votes): https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-have-disney-strike-star-wars-episode-viii-from-the-official-canon
    I'm OK with the hyperspace tracker. But like you said, if Finn and Rose could jump to a different star system and back, why couldn't the First Order get backup to cut the Resistance off?

    The plots for TFA and TLJ are horrible. 
    firelockwozwoz
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