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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

It should come as no surprise that a monumental effort went into bringing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to the big screen. While much of the work the filmmakers did was top secret during production, some crew members are now sharing behind-the-scenes insights into what it was like to work on Lucasfilm and Disney’s latest blockbuster. And the film’s editor has revealed that the latest Star Wars film had way less production time than The Force Awakens.

In a recent episode of The Rough Cut podcast, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s editor, Maryann Brandon, shared insights on what it was like to put Episode 9 together. And she made it clear that the entire production proved to be a challenge for the creative team because they were working with a short timeline. She explained how she managed, saying:

The way I made up the time. It’s a struggle, it affected everything. The script, the art department, everyone in prep. So about a third of the way through, [Kathleen Kennedy] was like: ‘JJ has got to spend more time in the cutting room.’ And I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Not with the schedule that we were on. Not with what he was dealing with on a daily basis. He was just exhausted at the end of the day.

Maryann Brandon is a seasoned Hollywood veteran. She’s been working as an editor for film and television since the early ‘90s, and has worked with J.J. Abrams since his Alias days. She and her co-editor, Mary Jo Markey, received an Academy Award nomination for their work on their first Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. But even with all that experience, the Skywalker experience tested her skills and her limits. The editor told The Rough Cut Podcast that they had three months less in post-production than what was given for The Force Awakens. That meant, she said, that they were editing while The Rise of Skywalker was still being filmed.

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It’s certainly impressive that they were able to complete the film in time for its release date. And the pressure to deliver a satisfying conclusion for fans must have been intense. J.J. Abrams has also spoken about the challenge of crafting a story that could stand both on its own and within the Star Wars canon -- which is something Maryann Brandon must have also been cognizant of while in the editing booth.

All their efforts aside, fans are divided as to whether or not the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker team did what they set out to do. While some have praised the film, others have taken issue with the way it resolved -- or did not resolve -- some of the franchise’s biggest storylines.