Exclusive: J.J. Abrams on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: “I found myself doing things I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode VII”

Jack Shepherd

The circle is complete. Next month, the final instalment in the trilogy of trilogies, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, will finally arrive in cinemas. 

For director J.J. Abrams, the journey has been a long one. The filmmaker was not initially meant to help Episode IX, but returned to the series after Colin Trevorrow stepped away. Speaking to our sister publication Total Film for their latest issue, Abrams compared working on The Rise of Skywalker to Episode VII, The Force Awakens, which reached cinemas four years ago.

“On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer,” he said. “In Episode VII, I was adhering to a kind of approach that felt right for Star Wars in my head. It was about finding a visual language, like shooting on locations and doing practical things as much as possible. And we continue that in Episode IX, but I also found myself doing things that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode VII.” 

That sounds like a cue from Rian Johnson, whose The Last Jedi was a breath of fresh air in the Star Wars universe. “Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies – not to just do something that you’ve seen before,” Abrams said. “I won’t say that I felt constrained or limited on VII, but I found myself wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not. And on IX, I found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more.” 

You can read the full article, which features an in-depth look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – including quotes from Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Anthony Daniels – in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, which reaches shelves on November 15. 

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