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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

J.J. Abrams says The Rise of Skywalker will be a 'pendulum swing' from The Last Jedi

By Jacob Oller
The Rise of Skywalker

While Star Wars fans weren’t exactly split on the The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens (both entries into the newest trilogy made tons of money, were enjoyed by critics and audiences alike, and led to continued working relationships between their helmers and LucasFilm), the movies were very different takes on the galaxy far, far away. As The Rise of Skywalker quickly approaches, the writer/director of that film and The Force Awakens has explained that the tone of the trilogy will soon come full circle.

J.J. Abrams, in conversation with the New York Times, commented once again on the sole movie in the new trilogy that he didn’t direct: The Last Jedi. After praising writer/director Rian Johnson’s entry into the canon — saying the film was “full of surprises and subversion and all sorts of bold choices” — Abrams got into why his film will be different. 

“[The Last Jedi]’s a bit of a meta approach to the story,”  Abrams said of Johnson’s decision to do away with presumed plot points like Rey’s lineage and the first Jedi temple. “I don’t think that people go to Star Wars to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter.’” 

Sure, there’s a certain fun to theorizing and speculating, but Abrams notes that the choices Johnson made were still a necessary factor for The Rise of Skywalker. It’s all groundwork for the upcoming film, and something that needed a breath of fresh air to finish strong. It’s “a story that I think needed a pendulum swing in one direction in order to swing in the other,” Abrams said of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker’s relationship. While the approaches may be different, that back-and-forth is something that Abrams deemed important for the finale to really land.

And after it lands? Abrams spoke to Variety about where he wants to go from here — and how he planted those seeds in the Skywalker saga’s final film. “I’d love to direct a play,” the writer/director admitted when asked about the kinds of projects he seeks after closing this chapter, “I would love to do something that is a much more intimate film.” That smaller, scaled down format is appealing to Abrams and something he wanted even his Star Wars film to include.

“People talking in rooms is the greatest,” Abrams said. “In fact, on Rise of Skywalker, the thing that I love about this movie — despite being really proud of some sequences that I think are visually pretty interesting — are the moments of characters talking, usually two people in a space, you know, confronting each other, challenging each other, revealing [things] to each other.” While there’s no way that The Rise of Skywalker won’t be a visual spectacle, fans can expect some serious talking between some people with serious beef.

To see the cast in non-beef mode, fans have a chance for another (perhaps one last) video of behind-the-scenes footage. By searching the term #TheRiseofSkywalker over on Amazon’s search bar, fans can get another taste of The Rise of Skywalker scenes that lean heavily on the VFX work (sorry, J.J., but your trailers have no conversations!) and a reminder of all that the film brings to an end.

The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on Dec. 20.