Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker featured some incredible sequences between Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren as the two lightsaber-wielders concluded the Skywalker Saga over 40 years in the making. While it's clear both of the actors trained incredibly hard to encompass their Star Wars characters for Episode IX, the film’s stunt coordinator, Eunice Huthart, offered some extra credit to Oscar-nominee Adam Driver for his insistence to do every stunt in the movie. In her words:
If, for example, Kylo Ren got set on fire, there’s not a chance in hell they’d ever let Adam Driver do it. Adam’s in a fortunate position because everything [necessary], the actor was capable to do. Adam’s stunt double never got into costume, ever. He’s as good as any stuntman, honestly.
Whoa! According to the stunt coordinator also behind Justice League and Fantastic Beasts, Adam Driver ended up benching his stunt double because he decided to take on every single stunt. It’s no secret Adam Driver is a serious actor, and as he explained in a recent training video about The Rise of Skywalker, the Kylo Ren actor was so protective over the physicality of the character that he wanted to do all the stunts too.
In her interview with Film Threat, Eunice Huthart also talked about Daisy Ridley’s stunt work on The Rise of Skywalker, admitting she was a bit more timid about the physicality required – yet she’d always rise to the occasion for anything that was asked of her. Huthart said:
The thing with Daisy is, I used to say to her, ‘Alright Daisy, the first thing you’re going to say to is I can’t do that, and then you’ll do it, and you’re fine, so let’s just do it!' Because she would come to us and say ‘No, I’m afraid of heights,’ and then like literally 40 minutes later, she’d be doing a swallow dive at 30 feet height, and doing it so well. So Daisy doesn’t know how good she is. We always just listened to it and laughed at her, and then it’d be fine.
It sounds like Daisy Ridley was more than capable of doing a lot of the stunts as well and did, but it just took a bit more convincing out of the actress. And to be fair, Rey seems to have a bit more of a stunt load within the franchise than that of Kylo Ren. Even so, both of the Rise of Skywalker leads seem to be apt in stunt work, according to their coordinator.
The most memorable stunt moment in The Rise of Skywalker would have to be when the two characters have a tireless lightsaber duel at the ruins of the Death Star. Aside from the action sequences, it’s clear the film went through a good deal of changes throughout the filmmaking process, including extensive script rewrites and changes to conceptual designs.
JJ Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker has been criticized for contradicting Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which was previously torn apart by some fans for undoing the events of Abrams’ The Force Awakens. The fandom is greatly divided on the Sequel Trilogy, but it's moments like Rey and Kylo’s lightsaber battle that are tough to argue about. It’s just a cool scene.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available to own on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD now.