Way back in February we ran a story about how the The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, is coming out on July 20th. That’s soon (we’ll have a review here, of course, so watch out for it)! We also noted that Miyazaki was no longer a spring chicken, couldn’t realistically continue to make many more movies like this one, and wondered aloud to ourselves about Studio Ghibli’s future, which has yet to find a proper heir to Miyazaki’s throne.
Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki probably has some awareness of that fact. At a press conference held to commemorate the film’s completion, Suzuki commented that The Wind Rises would be Miyazaki’s “last testament,” all but stating outright that this would be the last movie Miyazaki would take an active role on.
But Miyazaki wasn’t having it. “A last testament is something you leave behind when you’re dying, but I think I’m going to be living a little while longer, yet,” said Miyazaki with a knowing smile. Suzuki later added that the idea of Miyazaki’s last will came from questions about the film’s release, and the thought of whether or not Miyazaki would be able to create another feature film.
“I have no idea if we’ll be able to make another movie after this. I often think Miyazaki must be in the process of writing his ‘last will’,” said Suzuki. “There’s no guarantee that we’ll have people in the seats after the film opens publicly, but if we pack theaters, well… That’s when we can start thinking ‘let’s do another one.’”
Also in question is the future of Studio Ghibli’s other cofounder, Isao Takahata. Takahata, whose Princess Kaguya is set to be released this fall, is six years Miyazaki’s senior and works at a, small we say, slightly more languid pace (his last film, My Neighbors the Yamadas, was released in 1999). It would be fitting if Princess Kaguya were his last film: it’s one he’s wanted to make for decades.