“I know how to begin a story. Ending a story is tough.”
J.J. Abrams opened up to The New York Times about his hesitation in taking on Rise of Skywalker. The interview was published on their website earlier this morning.
Abrams only intended to direct one Star Wars film when he came on to Force Awakens after much persistence from Kathleen Kennedy. In fact, when he was first approached to make Episode VII, Abrams initially declined the offer. “It was too close to something that I cared about too much…I just thought it was too daunting.”
If starting the trilogy was daunting, then finishing it must be downright nerve-wracking. And understandably so – this movie carries a lot of pressure and expectation. Rise of Skywalker has to wrap up not just the sequel trilogy, but the previous eight films. And as much as I love this community as a whole, Star Wars fans are notoriously hard to please. George Lucas himself caught a lot of flak for the prequel films, which, while lacking in several areas, significantly advanced special effects technology. If the creator himself felt the brunt of fandom discontent, then Abrams is in an even more precarious position.
Despite Abrams’ trepidation about returning to the saga, the actors were relieved to have him back on board. Daisy Ridley revealed that she cried upon hearing the news. John Boyega said, “Even as a normal person in the audience, I wanted to see where that story was going,” referring to Episode VII. The actor’s concerns with Episode VIII are currently a hot topic within the fan base.
For the main trio, Episode IX held the satisfaction of bringing the gang back together, after being separated for nearly all of Episode VIII. For the new cast members, like Naomi Ackie and Keri Russell, the project was fun and exciting. And why wouldn’t it be?
The creative team fought hard to bring Episode IX to life, according to Chris Terrio. “It’s a war to do a movie like this, and every day you have to get up and go to the front again,” he told the Times.
According to Abrams, they took a very improvisational approach to the film, changing things as they went and rewriting important plot lines on the go. This process lasted throughout the entire creation of the movie. “When you have a better idea, it doesn’t matter when it is – you have to try it.”
Will the madness pay off? We can only hope. Cast members recently had their first viewing of the final product, and reactions were highly positive and emotional. Many promised that it was everything a Star Wars fan could ask for in a finale film. At a premiere event in Japan last night, Abrams gave us an idea of what to expect.
“It’s a universe story, it’s a group adventure, it’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s terrifying I think, and it’s moving, it’s emotional. But mostly, it’s a message of hope and unity.”
If there were any point in history that needed such a message, this is the time. Let’s hope this film brings unity to a very loudly divided fandom. Let’s hope we can all celebrate this wonderful galaxy together, one more time.
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