The last two Star Wars episodes couldn’t have been more different. JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens was a comfortable and familiar retread of nostalgia for the original trilogy, while Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi tore up the rule book and saw controversial storyline decisions split fans. But now as Abrams returns to direct The Rise of Skywalker, he’s admitted he’s taking more risks than on The Force Awakens because of how Johnson handled The Last Jedi.
Speaking with Slash Film, Abrams said: “On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer.
“In Episode VII, I was adhering to a kind of approach that felt right for Star Wars in my head.
“It was about finding a visual language, like shooting on locations and doing practical things as much as possible.
“And we continue that in Episode IX, but I also found myself doing things that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode VII.”
The director continued: “Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies – not to just do something that you’ve seen before.
“I won’t say that I felt constrained or limited on VII, but I found myself wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not.
“And on IX, I found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more.”
No doubt these comments will split fans based on if they preferred the safer approach of The Force Awakens or the more daring one of The Last Jedi.
He continued: “And then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical.
“This is, in its own way, a payoff. … It’s Carrie talking to us all from beyond.”
“The beautiful thing about the concept of the Force is that there is no real death; you just exist in another dimension.
“So Carrie is looking down or sideways or wherever and is still part of us. To be able to see that — it’s magical stuff only in the movies.”
Todd also revealed what the original plan for Leia was in The Rise of Skywalker, had Carrie lived.
It turns out that Leia was supposed to be The Last Jedi instead of her brother Luke Skywalker.
Todd said: “She was going to be the big payoff in the final film. She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right?”
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits UK cinemas on December 19, 2019.