For anyone who’s seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this won’t come as a huge surprise, but it seems that despite what Bob Iger said, the movie was consciously and explicitly a change of direction after Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s fan reception. There are multiple sources for this information out there online, as the tepid critical and audience response to the movie has had various creatives playing the blame game for what went wrong with it.
Right now, a lot of this is being laid at the feet of director J.J. Abrams and writer Chris Terrio, whose assurances that they respected the decisions Rian Johnson made in The Last Jedi felt a little flat after the film walked back so many of them. But now, reports are starting to surface on Twitter and Reddit that say the pressure to move away from the tone set in the previous film actually came from up on high and that Lucasfilm completely butchered Abrams’ initial cut, resulting in fans now calling for the J.J. cut of Rise to see the light of day.
In fact, studio execs were so spooked by the furious reaction to The Last Jedi that they consciously wanted to pander to fans and the backlash gave them cold feet in regards to many of Abrams’ initial ideas and plans for Episode IX. At least, that’s according to our sources, who’ve confirmed that much of what’s being said on social media today is indeed true and that among other things, Lucasfilm cut down Rose’s screentime, removed additional explanation for Palpatine’s return and even nixed some cameos. And given that these are the same sources who told us [SPOILERS] would be revealed as a traitor in the film and revealed that Reylo moment in the movie well before it hit theaters, we have no reason to doubt this intel.
In any case, as it stands, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feels destined to go down in history as a huge missed opportunity and will likely permanently taint the reputation of Disney’s Sequel Trilogy. But while executive meddling might be the reason that this particular film stinks, I think the rot set in right back when they made the decision that they would have a different director for each installment and do no forward planning on the plot.
Unfortunately, we’ll probably never really know what went on behind closed doors at Lucasfilm and Disney, but it’s safe to say that a number of very poor decisions were made along the way. And we imagine from this point on, both studios will be taking a very different approach to the franchise as they move forward with it.