Rian Johnson Helped JJ Be ‘Freer’ on The Rise of Skywalker

We’re almost a month away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and now JJ Abrams is talking a little more about directing the final installment of the Skywalker Saga.

In an interview with Total Film he explains how he did things in this one he wouldn’t do in The Force Awakens and how Rian Johnson influenced that decision:

“On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer,” he said. “In Episode 7, 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 9, but I also found myself doing things that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode 7.” 

“Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies – not to just do something that you’ve seen before,” Abrams said. “I won’t say that I felt constrained or limited on 7, but I found myself wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not. And on 9, I found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more.” 

I wasn’t the biggest fan of how The Force Awakens was a retread of A New Hope, something JJ said was intentional. One of my favorite things about Star Wars is how each movie introduces new things.

I have fond memories of the Original Trilogy releases and how each movie introduced new characters, aliens, ships, and locations. That continued in the Prequels. It’s one of the trademarks of Lucas’ style for the movies. So when TFA was too familiar, it was a disappointment.

That’s probably one of the reasons why I liked The Last Jedi so much. It felt more like a new Star Wars movie than The Force Awakens did, and for JJ to take inspiration from that bodes well for The Rise of Skywalker to end the saga on a good note while giving us something we haven’t seen before.