In the past decade, we’ve seen multiple huge franchises end their cinematic runs by splitting the final film into two parts. Harry Potter did it, as did The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games. You could also make the argument that Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were two parts of one story. Despite this trend and its financial advantages, Star Wars did not do this. However, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s writer Chris Terrio wishes it was split into two movies, saying:
I wish we could have done that. There is a lot of plot in the movie, and as a writer, you always want scenes to let the plot breathe more. If there were a way of doing it, splitting it would have been my dream.
You might expect Chris Terrio to toe the line and say that one movie capping off a nine-movie saga was the absolute best way to tell this story just because that’s what happened, but he’s actually being quite upfront about his preferences here. If Chris Terrio had had his way, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would have been a two-parter.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a lot of plot, and as the writer of the film, alongside director J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio knows that as well as anybody. In his opinion, two films would have given him much more time to fit in all that necessary plot to get the story from point A to point B, while also giving the film more room to breathe.
Chris Terrio also told Awards Daily that he could have written these characters forever, that there was more backstory that had to be axed and that it breaks his heart to leave stuff out that could have given the story more depth, nuance and character moments. For those reasons, Chris Terrio makes no bones about it: he personally wishes that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would have been split into Part 1 and Part 2.
Of course, that’s not what happened. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is one two hour and 22 minute film that concludes the Skywalker Saga. So why wasn’t the film split into two? It sounds like there weren’t really any serious conversations about that possibility with the governing rationale being that George Lucas intended this to be a nine-film saga, not a ten-film saga.
That is perhaps somewhat questionable on the part of Lucasfilm considering that George Lucas’ ideas for the Sequel Trilogy were thrown out and this is no longer his story, so why bother adhering to his nine-film structure at this point.
While I personally like the idea of sticking to the three-trilogy arc, I think that Chris Terrio should have gotten his wish. If you watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, you should definitely be able to see how rushed it is and loaded with plot and exposition, particularly in the first hour, which moves at a breakneck pace with little time to explain anything.
For those who loved Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we could have gotten two movies worth of all the great stuff about Episode IX, and for those who didn’t. we could have had perhaps a story that worked better with more time to flesh out.
I also still wonder why, if the writer wanted more real estate to tell his story, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker couldn’t have been longer. I mean, three hours worked for Avengers: Endgame and allowed for that film’s plot to breathe, so why wasn't that done here?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what movies are coming next year and let us know your thoughts on a two-part Episode IX in the poll below.