Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a hugely successful movie in many respects, not least earning over $1 billion at the box office. However, it’s hard to ignore the very vocal backlash against many of the storytelling decisions it made. There’s been a lot of talk, then, about how much the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would have been affected by that and how much J.J. Abrams will have to steer the franchise in a different direction.
But, according to the filmmaker himself, the answer to that question is: not much. ET Canada caught up with Abrams at the D23 expo and the director emphasized that Episode IX will complete the arc he started with The Force Awakens and that TLJ didn’t “derail” any of the plans that were set in motion with Episode VII.
“The story that we’re telling, the story that we started to conceive when we did The Force Awakens was allowed to continue. Episode VIII didn’t really derail anything that we were thinking about.”
Without giving anything away, Abrams did go on to say that what marks Rise apart from the past two entries in the saga is that this time the gang will be all together, which he believes creates a lot of fun.
“But I will say that the fun of this movie is that these characters are all together on this adventure as a group. That’s the thing that I was most excited about to see, the dynamic between these characters that these amazing actors play on this desperate, seat-of-your-pants adventure. That, to me, was the most fun, having the group together.”
Abrams seems to be saying here that, while TLJ didn’t seriously alter the shape of this movie, there is a renewed emphasis on fun and uniting the characters in Rise as opposed to Episode VIII, which has come under criticism for its gloomier outlook and scattering of the cast.
The director has previously said, though, that Rian Johnson’s work on The Last Jedi encouraged him to take risks on Rise, so that’s one major way that it’ll continue on with its predecessor’s spirit. A happy medium to reach is probably a mix of TFA‘s nostalgia and optimism and TLJ‘s maturity and boldness. And we’ll see if Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker manages that when it finally hits cinemas on December 20th.