This December will see the saga officially come to an end as the Skywalker Saga and the “main story” of Star Wars will conclude with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Since the release of these new films in the franchise, each one has drawn a significant amount of debate and discussion regarding how they “fit” into the larger world of that galaxy far, far away. Many considered the first in this new line of movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to be too much of a re-tread of the older films and others decried choices made in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as being too radically different. When it was revealed that director J.J. Abrams would be returning to direct the ninth film in the saga, some fans feared it would once again be a soft-carbon copy of a film seen before, but Abrams says that the controversial eighth episode made him reconsider his approach.
Speaking in a new interview with Total Film magazine, Abrams himself brought up how he felt in sticking to a certain style of filmmaking and world building for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, acknolwedging the criticism lobbied at the movie by some. Abrams said his specific approach in that film was about sticking to what felt right for Star Wars “in his head,” and he made the journey of directing it about doing things a specific way including “shooting on locations and doing practical things as much as possible,” something he maintains they still did on Rise of Skywalker. To sum it all up though, Abrams said that on Episode IX he was “Freer,” and he admitted he has The Last Jedi's Rian Johnson to thank for that.
“Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies – not to just do something that you’ve seen before,” Abrams told the outlet. “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.”
Though the mystery box is still mostly closed on Rise of Skywalker, we can already parse at least a few things that Abrams has brought to the table for the film that don't feel like safe choices for Star Wars such as the horse-like creatures the Orbaks. These hairy and tusked beasts are seen in the final trailer being ridden by Finn and Jannah on what appears to be a Star Destroyer. There's also the likes of the Resistance slug-like alien Klaud and the tiny droidsmith Babu Frik, whose designs certainly feel baked into the world of Star Wars, but who presence for the final entry in the entire saga seems surprising.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Carrie Fisher.
Star Wars is also headed to the Disney+ streaming service. The series The Mandalorian will debut on Disney+'s launch day, November 12th. A show following Obi-Wan Kenobi is in the works, with Ewan MacGregor returning to the role. A series about Rogue One’s Cassian Andor is also in development.