It’s hard to imagine that a nine-film arc like Star Wars has been able to sustain itself over a 42-year span. Now that story comes to an epic conclusion with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which closes the book on the Skywalker saga which first started in 1977. The original trilogy centered mainly on Luke’s path, while the prequel trilogy focused more on Anakin’s path towards the dark side. This latest trilogy is ushering in a new dynamic, which sees Han Solo and General Leia’s son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) embracing the dark side, while the mysterious Rey (Daisy Ridley) fights to bring balance to the Force. And it appears that director J.J. Abrams is running on all cylinders to make sure that the final film in the trilogy and the Skywalker saga has a proper ending.
While we have seen two trailers and some footage so far, we still know very little about the film itself. But Abrams and some of the cast have now opened up about the sequel a little bit. See what they had to say below.
Speaking exclusively to EW, Abrams talked about how he didn’t feel any sort of pressure coming back to write and direct his second entry in the trilogy, after Colin Trevorrow was fired, with such a tight production schedule. Here’s what he had to say:
“We had more reshoots on Episode VII than this one. We had more story adjustments on VII than this one. We didn’t know if these characters would work, if the actors would be able to carry a Star Wars movie. There were a lot of things we didn’t know. On this, we knew who and what worked, and everyone is doing the best work I’ve ever seen anyone do. But the ambition of this movie is far greater than Force Awakens. What we set out to do was far more challenging. Everything is exponentially larger on this.”
Abrams was fully aware that he wasn’t going to have three months of post-production available to him, and that everything right now is a race to get it right. And yet, even with all of the teasers and footage that we have seen, we still don’t know much about the film. All of that speaks to Abrams’ penchant for storytelling and keeping his audiences in the dark so that they can be genuinely surprised.
Though we won’t be getting any major spoilers from Abrams, we did learn that The Rise of Skywalker will take place a year after the events of The Last Jedi. Rey is still in the midst of training to become a Jedi, while Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) are in a race to find any support for the Resistance, which has been left decimated by the First Order. “They’re trying to put bandaids on this leaking ship of the Resistance,” Isaac told EW.
But a new mission finds the three working together, for the very first time. Here’s Isaac again, talking about the changes their characters will go through since we last saw them in The Last Jedi:
“We’re not just a ragtag group of people who have been thrown together. We’ve actually had time to train. There are some really great sequences with the three of us in infiltrating spaces.”
Of course, with this new mission, these characters will need to venture outside of their comfort zones. As we have seen in the trailer, Poe is out in the field more than he is in a cockpit of his X-Wing fighter, while Finn looks like he isn’t just a “comedic goofy dude who never gets stuff done.” Boyega on getting to do more this time around and some of the changes you will see from his character:
“I definitely wanted more after Episode VIII. [Rise of Skywalker] makes Finn’s Episode VIII arc make more sense. We got to bring out a side of Finn we haven’t seen.”
So while the three actors have been together for events like Star Wars Celebration and D23 Expo, they really don’t have much of a rapport on set. So in order to build that chemistry, Abrams had the three improvise dialogue, with some of the shots being long-takes so that the energy between the three could keep flowing.
But Poe and Finn are not the only ones who have changed. Rey has changed a great deal as well. However, Ridley believes that Rey isn’t as confident in her abilities as she should be. Here’s what Ridley has to say:
“I have skills that have developed, but “˜confident’ isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. She’s definitely more in control of everything and can do new fun stuff, but she’s vulnerable and a little insecure about at all.”
Despite that, Abrams says Rey’s skills as a scavenger will be “essential to saving the galaxy.”
Though Rey may be the key to saving the galaxy, many still have questions about her parentage on their mind. Kylo Ren revealed that Rey’s parents were nothing more than filthy junk dealers who sold her off for drinking money. Whether or not that was The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s intention is unclear, but, it is the kind of answer that still intrigues Rey, as well as audiences and fans. Ridley said:
“The parents thing is not satisfied “” for her and for the audience. That’s something she’s still trying to figure out “” where does she come from?”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.