J.J. Abrams says 'The Rise of Skywalker' won't 'play safe' thanks to Rian Johnson

J.J. Abrams attends the "Go Behind the Scenes with the Walt Disney Studios," press line at the 2019 D23 Expo, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
J.J. Abrams (Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

In remarks that might have the opposite of the intended effect, J.J. Abrams has said that he's taking a leaf of out Last Jedi director Rian Johnson's book for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Abrams nods towards the suggestion that he played it safe in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by sticking to what he thought a Star Wars movie should be.

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Speaking to Total Film, he said: “In Episode 7, 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 9, but I also found myself doing things that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode 7.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Credit: Disney)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Credit: Disney)

For that, he thanks Rian Johnson, adding: “Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies - not to just do something that you’ve seen before.

“I won’t say that I felt constrained or limited on 7, but I found myself wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not. And on 9, I found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more.”

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Though the majority of critics appreciated it – a B-grade was the general consensus – The Last Jedi was arguably the most divisive Star Wars movie ever among fans, many objecting to, well, much of the movie, from the rambling and needless mission by Finn and Rose to the casino planet, to the subversion of the whole 'hyperspace' lore by Laura Dern's Vice Admiral Holdo.

Rian Johnson, writer/director of the film "Knives Out," poses for a portrait at the St. Regis Hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Toronto. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Rian Johnson (Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

That said, Johnson and Abrams are different filmmakers, and Abrams' idea of 'going for it' may be a world apart from Johnson's.

Thus far, we know next to nothing about the plot of the final movie.

We only have the vague official synopsis, which describes the action thusly: “A year after the events of The Last Jedi, the remnants of the Resistance face the First Order once again - while reckoning with the past and their own inner turmoil. Meanwhile, the ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its climax, altogether bringing the Skywalker saga to a definitive end.”

Starring Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams and the late Carrie Fisher, it lands in the UK on December 19.