Skip to main content

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's Writer Reveals Extensive Rewrites

Kylo Ren and Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Rewrites can be a major element of any film or television project, especially when it comes to big-budget productions. The Star Wars franchise is a prime example, as The Empire Strikes Back and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story both were both reworked during the writing process. For last year’s The Rise of Skywalker, director J.J. Abrams recruited Chris Terrio to help him freshen up Michael Arndt’s screenplay. Now, Terrio is providing some insight into just how much work the pair had to do.

Lucasfilm recently released The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker book, which features numerous pieces of concept art that weren’t utilized for the finished film. Chris Terrio, who is quoted in the book (via Business Insider) stated that he’d never had to do more rewrites for a film more than he did for The Rise of Skywalker. And by the sound of it, he and Abrams were putting together new drafts quite often:

It’s like a tide. There’s a new script every morning. But we just keep going at it and going at it, loosely thinking that it’s not good enough. It’s never good enough.

You would think it would be difficult for the film’s production team to keep up with these constant changes, but Terrio says they had no problem keeping up with his and Abrams’ ideas:

Luckily, the production team is so good that they can shift and adjust. We’re course-correcting as we go – we’re trying things, and some things don’t work and some things aren’t ambitious enough. Some things are overly ambitious. Some things are too dense. Some things are too simple. Some things are too nostalgic. Some things are too out-of-left-field. We’re finding our balance.

Recent news has suggested that Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams made various changes to Michael Arndt’s original draft for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. These comments from Terrio now fuel that notion even further.

Arndt, who also penned the first draft of The Force Awakens, appears to have wanted to add some concepts to The Rise of Skywalker that were a bit more unconventional. One recently revealed plot point involved Leia dealing with an internal struggle.

Ironically, while Terrio was called in to help write The Rise of Skywalker, he’s also been on the other end of a rewrite situation. The Argo scribe wrote the original draft of Zack Snyder’s Justice League but, following the Snyder’s departure, Joss Whedon came in to tweak the script.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may not have been the film every fan was expecting, yet it did manage to strike a chord with a number of longtime devotees. For that, some are probably glad Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams were willing to be so fluid. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Digital HD, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.