Though they share many similarities – same franchise, same timeline… you name it – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi are really chalk and cheese.
One is a retro-inspired callback to the Star Wars movies of old, while the other is a bold, experimental sequel driven by an auteur director in the form of Rian Johnson. Episode VIII has no shortage of detractors, mind you, but if nothing else, Johnson delivered a truly original installment in the Skywalker Saga. And it seems his actions have even inspired J.J. Abrams in time for Episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker.
Here’s what the filmmaker told Vanity Fair recently about the ripple effect created by The Last Jedi:
Having seen what Rian did make me approach this from a place of instinct and gut,” said Abrams. “I was making choices I knew I would not have made on VII, some story-wise, but more in terms of directing. I found myself feeling less like I’m going to try and do something that feels like it’s [only] true to the specifics of this franchise or the story.”
That’s exciting in and of itself, given that The Force Awakens wandered down a similar path to A New Hope – emerging tyrant; planet-sized superweapon, etc. Come December though, we can at least expect a bold new addition to the Star Wars timeline, even if Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio throw in one or two moments of fan service to properly close the book on this beloved saga, one which began all the way back in ’77.
Expect heartfelt reunions and another lightsaber duel between Kylo Ren and Rey, whose Force connection may run deeper than we initially expected…
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees a theatrical release on December 20th – one month after Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian‘s premiere on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus.