You can’t really talk about J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker without going back to Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. The two films look to be diametrically opposed, yet equally divisive among the fandom. Many fans who didn’t care for Johnson’s 2017 Star Wars film are finding satisfaction in Abrams’ Episode IX, and vice versa. Contrary to the thought that The Rise of Skywalker writer/director greatly ignored the movie before it, Abrams recently said this:
Is anyone else surprised? J.J. Abrams cleared up ideas that he rebelled against Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi at a Friday screening of The Rise of Skywalker (via Vanity Fair). According to the writer/director, Rian Johnson was consulted on the latest Star Wars movie. Abrams also praised the Knives Out filmmaker for contributing to many plot points in Episode VIII that he and co-writer Chris Terrio built upon for The Rise of Skywalker.
Fans have certainly found a good amount of plot points that contradict Rian Johnson’s movie – such as Rey’s revealed place in the story, Kylo Ren donning his helmet again and the absence of Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico. There are elements of The Rise of Skywalker that needed The Last Jedi too, such as Rey and Kylo’s Force phone calls or, as Abrams points out, Luke Skywalker’s arc.
While some fans' blatant criticisms about The Last Jedi lay in the treatment of Luke’s return, J.J. Abrams called it “one of the many brilliant things” Rian Johnson did with the franchise. Looking back, he said Johnson’s unique ideas helped more than anything, and didn’t end up debilitating their creative process. In Abrams’ words:
However, it should be noted that Rian Johnson’s name is not on the script for The Rise of Skywalker. Actions are particularly more telling than words, and there does seem to be some different standpoints on the franchise from each filmmakers' point of view.
But both of them seem to agree that there was no way they’d be able to please everyone with these movies. Recently, Rian Johnson said he felt it would be a mistake to go into the creative process from the standpoint of trying to make fans happy. He talked about wanting to be challenged as an audience member and filmmaker.
Similarly, J.J. Abrams said he and Chris Terrio knew no matter what choices they made, The Rise of Skywalker would receive a mixed response. At the post-screening Q&A, he said he wouldn’t even know how to go about pleasing everyone.
What do you think? Does Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feel like a collaborative process with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi? Sound off in the comments below and read our review of the film!
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