The upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker faces a tough task on multiple fronts when it hits theaters this December. Not only does the movie need to deliver a satisfying conclusion to a nine-film arc started by George Lucas way back in 1977, but it also needs to keep the fans onside after recent entries into the Star Wars canon have come in line for some serious criticism, so much so that Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has had to publicly address the issue.
After the incredibly polarizing reception that greeted Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, Abrams was brought back into the fold to complete the third Star Wars trilogy that he himself had launched with The Force Awakens in 2015, and while many people thought that the decision was a knee-jerk reaction in bringing in a safe pair of hands to tie up the franchise in the wake of fan backlash, the Bad Robot head honcho is fully aware of the pressure that both he himself and The Rise of Skywalker are facing, as he admitted in a recent interview.
“This is about bringing this thing to a close in a way that is emotional and meaningful and also satisfying in terms of actually answering as many questions as possible. So, if years from now, someone’s watching these movies, all nine of them, they’re watching a story that is as cohesive as possible.”
The filmmaker has already said that the upcoming ninth installment in the Skywalker Saga isn’t going to please everyone, but that doesn’t mean that Abrams is content to deliver a couple of hours based simply on dishing out fan service and tying up loose story threads, either.
“While there were many things that were planned for and discussed – George Lucas himself said when he created this he saw it as three, three-act plays – that doesn’t mean there isn’t discovery, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that come up that make you realize, ‘Oh, here’s an opportunity.’ It also doesn’t mean that there’s a list of payoffs that we have to do because of setups. But we also were very much aware this is the end of the trilogy and it needs to satisfy. We went into this thing knowing it has to be an ending. We’re not screwing around.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker faces an incredibly delicate balancing act in paying off over 40 years’ worth of storytelling while also standing on its own merits as a Star Wars movie, and while Abrams is likely going to face backlash from certain quarters of the fanbase regardless of how the film turns out, he’s certainly saying all the right things as the release date creeps ever closer.