Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Star Wars saga began back in 1977 with the release of a blockbuster the likes of which audiences had never seen before. The story began with Luke Skywalker fulfilling a destiny that had been set in motion years before. We backtracked to those origins as his father Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. And now we find ourselves at the end with a new story where Kylo Ren, formerly Ben Solo, has to contend with the rise of the light side of the Force in the form of a mysteriously powerful girl named Rey.

Because of this legacy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a lot riding on it. So it should please fans that despite having three fewer months of post-production on this movie than The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams feels much better about this final installment of the Skywalker saga than he did about the beginning of this new trilogy at the same point in production. Find out what the director is willing to reveal about the movie, and also hear what stars Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega have to say about where we find our heroes in this final chapter.

The Rise of Skywalker needed to come together much faster than previous Star Wars installments. That’s likely due to the changing of the guard when Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow stepped down from the helm of the film before it had an official title, resulting in Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy bringing in J.J. Abrams to save the day, so to speak. Despite the truncated schedule, Abrams doesn’t sound worried while speaking to Entertainment Weekly for their Star Wars cover issue:

“We always knew we were going to have three fewer months to post-production this film. So much is still being worked on. It’s literally a practical race to get it finished.”

So what is it that has Abrams feeling “infinitely better” about The Rise of Skywalker at this stage of production than he did while making The Force Awakens? The director explained:

“We had more reshoots on Episode VII than this one. We had more story adjustments on VII than this one. We didn’t know if these characters would work, if the actors would be able to carry a Star Wars movie. There were a lot of things we didn’t know. On this, we knew who and what worked, and everyone is doing the best work I’ve ever seen anyone do. But the ambition of this movie is far greater than Force Awakens. What we set out to do was far more challenging. Everything is exponentially larger on this.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Seasoned Resistance Heroes

It certainly appears everyone is getting more to do than we’ve seen them tackle before. In the same vein of Abrams’ confidence in The Rise of Skywalker being in better shape than The Force Awakens, our new heroes in this trilogy are much more seasoned as Resistance fighters, especially when it comes to working together. Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and Finn (John Boyega) are all going out on a mission together for the first time ever, and a time jump has them more prepared than ever. Isaac says:

“We’re not just a ragtag group of people who have been thrown together. We’ve actually had time to train. There are some really great sequences with the three of us in infiltrating spaces.”

That includes Poe and Finn stepping outside of their usual roles this time. We will get to see Poe in action outside of the cockpit of a ship or speeder, though surely he’ll still be doing some flying since he’s the best pilot in the Resistance. Meanwhile Boyega went out of his way to ask J.J. Abrams to give Finn more to do. Boyega explains:

“I definitely wanted more after Episode VIII. [Rise of Skywalker] makes Finn’s Episode VIII arc make more sense. We got to bring out a side of Finn we haven’t seen.”

As for Rey, this time she has something new too. Isaac stopped himself before revealing too much of what’s in store for the new Jedi, but he said, “Rey is driving her own thing. She’s not doing what other people are telling her to do.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Who is Rey?

We already know that the question of who Rey is will be one of the driving forces of The Rise of Skywalker. That’s what the film’s co-writer Chris Terrio said not too long ago. While this continues to apply to Rey’s origin story and her parents, it also ties into what makes her the person that is meant to save the galaxy.

When we see Rey again in The Rise of Skywalker, she’s definitely more skilled in the ways of the Force, but Daisy Ridley cautions that she’s not necessarily as confident as you might think. So don’t expect her to be as cocky as Luke Skywalker was at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Ridley said:

“I have skills that have developed, but ‘confident’ isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. She’s definitely more in control of everything and can do new fun stuff, but she’s vulnerable and a little insecure about at all.”

The question that many still have is why Rey is strong with the Force if her parents were just filthy junk traders who are now buried on Jakku. Who they hell were they? Despite seeming to accept her parents as nobodies, Rey’s journey to learn about who she is will continue in The Rise of Skywalker. Ridley said:

“The parents thing is not satisfied — for her and for the audience. That’s something she’s still trying to figure out — where does she come from? It’s not that she doesn’t believe it. But she feels there’s more to the story. And she needs to figure out what’s come before so she can figure out what to do next.”

That seems to imply that we’ll learn something about her parents (or maybe even grandparents) that helps Rey figure out her place in this story. Abrams himself even said it will be more than her Force abilities that defines her role in this final battle:

“The scavenger who is desperate and haggling for portions and trying to survive [in Force Awakens] — those special skills and that special experience ends up being something that is essential to saving the galaxy.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

This is the End

For any Star Wars fans hoping that this movie will set up the future of the galaxy, don’t hold your breath. This is the end of the Skywalker saga. While that doesn’t preclude the possibility of new characters like Rey, Finn, and Poe from being part of future Star Wars projects, Entertainment Weekly says, “Abrams insists Rise of Skywalker won’t set up a future story. He’s not leaving loose threads for Disney to hang another trilogy directly onto the back of this one.”

And don’t worry about all the marketing you’ve seen so far. J.J. Abrams is still very much a man of mystery, and he says, “The [trailers] that have come out are scratching the surface of what the movie is.” But if you’d like to scratch that surface even more, you can go read Entertainment Weekly’s full cover story over here.

We eagerly anticipate how it all ends when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 19, 2020.

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