Star Wars: J.J. Abrams Felt “Freer” On The Rise Of Skywalker

The director credits The Last Jedi's Rian Johnson with his decision to make more "daring" creative choices on Episode 9.

There’s just over a month to go before the ninth and final chapter of the Skywalker Saga is unleashed on the world, and the pre-release publicity machine is gearing up to blast into hyperspace. And so it is that the director of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams, has been speaking about his approach to bringing the film to the screen.

In an interview in the new issue of Total Film magazine (via Gamesradar+), the director spoke about the differences between working on 2015’s The Force Awakens – with which he kickstarted the sequel trilogy – and his upcoming saga-capper, admitting that he found himself “wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not” when he was making Episode 7. He revealed that he felt “freer” when it came to The Rise Of Skywalker and made creative choices “that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on [The Force Awakens].”

Abrams went on to credit Rian Johnsonwriter-director of The Last Jedi—as the inspiration for the change in his approach. “Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies—not to just do something that you’ve seen before,” he said. “On [Episode] 9, I found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more…”

While it’s fair to say that Johnson’s work on The Last Jedi split opinion somewhat (probably the understatement of the year), it nonetheless showcased a willingness on his (and the studio’s) part to be bold and try new things with the much-loved franchise. From the sound of this, it seems like Abrams is taking the baton and running with it, aiming to offer something fresh for the saga’s grand finale while at the same time appealing to the franchise’s core fanbase.

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The film is already on course for an impressive cinematic debut, with tracking specialists Box Office Pro predicting that the film will take in between $185 million and $225 million on its opening weekend in the States – partly owing to strong early ticket sales. Disney and Lucasfilm will be hoping that The Rise Of Skywalker ends the series on a high note while they decide on the best course for the future of the franchise on the big screen; there are no Star Wars movies currently on the horizon, although Johnson’s mooted new trilogy—set in the same universe but moving away from the Skywalker lineage—is apparently still on track.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker opens Dec. 20th.