J.J. Abrams really wants you to understand that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the end. Is it the end of Star Wars? No, of course not. But it is the end of the Skywalker Saga – the saga that encompasses nine films total. And when it comes to Skywalker, Abrams wanted to make sure he provided not just a good final film, but a satisfying conclusion to the saga as a whole. In two new interviews, Abrams hammers home how conclusive and satisfying he hopes this will end up being.
"We're not screwing around."
Here's how #TheRiseOfSkywalker director J.J. Abrams crafted a satisfying end to the #StarWars saga pic.twitter.com/LWezHnvoR0
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) November 21, 2019
“We had to look at not just what Rian [Johnson] had done [with The Last Jedi],” J.J. Abrams says in the video above. “We had to look at what the prequels had done, and 4, 5, and 6, and of course, 7 and 8.” Because The Rise of Skywalker isn’t just a sequel – it’s a finale. It’s Abrams’ attempt to find the “true resolution of this saga.”
At the same time, Abrams stresses that he didn’t have a “list of payoffs” that he ran down – he wanted the story to unfold organically. Meanwhile, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Abrams stresses the conclusion elements again:
“I felt going into this, even on [Episode] VII — I don’t remember if this was discussed or not, but it felt like this was the final trilogy. It felt like it earned being the conclusion of that story. Who’s to say what comes next? Is there something else to be done that involves any of these characters? I’m working on nothing [Star Wars-related], so I’m not hinting at anything. I’m just saying, who’s to know, but it just felt like the end.”
When asked if The Rise of Skywalker will end things on a hopeful note, Abrams is a little more standoffish providing a definitive answer. “Well, you certainly want to feel like it was worth the journey, and like there’s something satisfying — without talking about happy or sad endings,” he says, before adding that the real challenge of the film was to remain true to everything that came before while also attempting something fresh:
“The challenge was to find a way to be consistent, honor what’s come before, but also do something that’s unexpected. It had to be something that feels like it’s part of the piece but relevant to today. And then, while you’re on the tightrope, you want to dance. You want the thing to have delight. So you’re on this razor’s edge.”
No matter how The Rise of Skywalker turns out, you can rest assured that it won’t please everyone. It’s impossible to make everyone in such a far-flung fanbase happy. But I’m hopeful we’ll get something that – as Abrams says – makes the journey worthwhile.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20.
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