Fans just got their first look at Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker, but the journey is already over for most of the cast and crew. Not J.J. Abrams, though. He finished filming but, as the director of the movie, he's still working hard in post-production before the film's December release. Abrams also directed Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, the first film in this sequel trilogy. Now he's closing out the entire Skywalker Saga.
J.J. Abrams was recently asked to compare his last days filming the two Star Wars films. As you can imagine, Rise of Skywalker had more emotional impact than Force Awakens:
The last day on this one [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker] was a more emotional last day, because we knew it was the last day. There wasn't another movie, there wasn't another plan to get together. This was the end of what for I think all of us felt like a blink of an eye. And here we are at the end of this moment. The truth is, though, as a director, the end of the shoot is the beginning of post, and the beginning of post is the beginning of a long road of luckily getting to work with a lot of great people. ... In post, it's mostly editors and visual effects artists, and of course like John Williams, which is maybe the best part of the entire experience, getting to go to recording sessions with the orchestra.
Yes, we so often focus on first and last days of filming, but there's so much that happens before the actors even get to set, and still more after they leave. It would be a dream to watch John Williams and the orchestra working on any Star Wars score.
J.J. Abrams continued telling Jake Hamilton how the end of his first Star Wars movie was quite different from his (probably) last:
The end of Force Awakens, we felt like 'Oh my god, we did it.' But we still didn't quite know what it would even look like, in a way. And on this one it was more like 'Oh no, we're not going to see each other again in this way maybe ever.'
There's a lot of hugging in the Star Wars galaxy, and you'll probably remember the Rey/Finn/Poe hug photo J.J. Abrams shared on February 15 to mark the official end of Episode IX filming.
Thanks to his new interview with Jake Hamilton at Star Wars Celebration 2019, we have more insight into how J.J. Abrams was feeling that day. We'll be hearing a lot more from Abrams and the cast as we get closer to The Rise of Skywalker's release.
Once the movie opens, we'll hear even more from J.J. Abrams as he explains the decisions that were made along the way. He had to do a lot of that after The Force Awakens, just as Rian Johnson did after The Last Jedi, and George Lucas has had to do for decades now, especially after the prequels. Fans love Star Wars films, but they also feel so passionately about them -- well, you know.