Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Director J.J. Abrams Says He Wasn't "Beholden" to the Franchise's Past

The Vanity Fair spread for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is finally here! The longstanding tradition between the beloved franchise and the publication continues, with the “Ultimate Preview” showing Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) on the magazine’s covers. Vanity Fair spoke with director J.J. Abrams about the movie, and he revealed that he no longer feels “beholden” to the franchise’s past.

“Working on nine, I found myself approaching it slightly differently— which is to say that, on seven, I felt beholden to Star Wars in a way that was interesting— I was doing what to the best of my ability I felt Star Wars should be… (This time) it felt slightly more renegade; it felt slightly more like, you know, F**k it, I’m going to do the thing that feels right because it does, not because it adheres to something,” Abrams explained.

That sounds like the right attitude to have! Especially since fans of the franchise have proved that their reactions will likely be divisive. Many complained that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was too much like the originals while many others argued that Star Wars: The Last Jedi veered too far from the franchise's formula. By doing what feels right, Abrams could easily produce the best film of the new trilogy.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to star a returning Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. New cast members include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, and the returning veteran actors are Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams. Carrie Fisher will appear in the movie via unused footage from The Force Awakens.

During the Episode IX Star Wars Celebration panel, Abrams teased what fans can expect from the upcoming movie.

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“The movie doesn’t pick up immediately after the last film," he shared. "Some time has passed. This movie is an adventure the group goes on together. One of the great things about getting to work on the movie is the dynamic between all of the characters. They’re amazing together, and it’s something I’m excited for you all to see.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is expected to hit theaters on December 20th.

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