With the publicity train for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” slowing down ahead of its release next Friday, it’s now J.J. Abrams’ turn to give an honest opinion about the previous film following some more candid comments from the likes of actors Mark Hamill and John Boyega about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.
Abrams’ hire was initially seen as an attempt to ‘fix’ the franchise by Lucasfilm following the divisive reaction to Rian Johnson’s movie which scored over a billion dollars and has strong supporters in some critical and fan corners. Until now Abrams has only spoken positively, saying Johnson’s film gave him the courage to try some things with ‘Rise of Skywalker’ he previously wouldn’t have done.
Speaking with The New York Times this week, it now sounds like the direction ‘Skywalker’ took is indeed something a direct reaction to ‘Last Jedi’. Self-aware that he’s known for delivering strong openings but weak endings, Abrams is a bit more open than usual in the interview. Of ‘Last Jedi’ he says it’s “full of surprises and subversion and all sorts of bold choices. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a meta approach to the story. I don’t think that people go to ‘Star Wars’ to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter.'”
As a result of this, it impacted ‘Skywalker’ in that it will now go in a completely opposite direction, Abrams saying Last Jedi delivered “a story that I think needed a pendulum swing in one direction in order to swing in the other [with Skywalker]”. The article goes on to say Abrams’ return brought a “sigh of relief” for the actors, no doubt happy with a familiar face. Daisy Ridley admitted she cried and John Boyega says he was happy Abrams got to finish what he started with ‘Force Awakens’: “even as a normal person in the audience, I wanted to see where that story was going”.
Head over to the The New York Times for the full piece, and to Nerdist for a superb rebuttal. The NYT piece also goes into the whole Colin Trevorrow departure as well and io9 spoke with Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy about that earlier this week, discussing the ‘creative differences’ that led to Trevorrow’s departure. Kennedy told the outlet:
“Colin was at a huge disadvantage not having been a part of Force Awakens and in part of those early conversations because we had a general sense of where the story was going. Like any development process, it was only in the development that we’re looking at a first draft and realizing that it was perhaps heading in a direction that many of us didn’t feel was really quite where we wanted it to go.
We were on a schedule, as we often are with these movies, and had to make a tough decision as to whether or not we thought we could get there in the time or not. And as I said, Colin was at a disadvantage because he hadn’t been immersed in everything that we all had starting out with Episode VII.”
The new film has also been making headlines for a whole different reason. Disney has issued a letter to cinemas around the world stating that the new film contains several sequences with imagery and sustained flashing lights that may impact those who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.
Disney famously had issues with a flashing lights sequence in last year’s “Incredibles 2” and has since been working with the Epilepsy Foundation on ways to alert viewers who might be susceptible.
Finally today, check out a new TV spot below that finally shows off the return of The Emperor in the film along with a countdown TV spot. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” arrives in theaters on December 20th.