J.J. Abrams Addresses Having to End Star Wars After Marvel's Avengers: Endgame

Two-time Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, who steered the first and final installments of Disney-Lucasfilm's sequel trilogy, says it was "encouraging" seeing Marvel Studios wrap up multiple movies and storylines in Avengers: Endgame. The conclusion to an 11-year, 22-movie saga, Endgame closed the first chapter of the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe while setting the stage for its future, including its Infinity Saga epilogue Spider-Man: Far From Home. Similarly, Abrams was tasked with ending not just Disney's Star Wars trilogy but the nine-movie episodic saga, and the filmmaker saw Endgame as "a reminder that it could be done."

"I thought they did a brilliant job, and it was the same but it was different. And it was encouraging to see that something could be wrapped up in that way," Abrams told BBC 5's Simon Mayo. "But it was, obviously, it was different enough that it was more sort of inspiration and a reminder that it could be done, than something else."

The experience of going back and revisiting the first eight Star Wars movies ahead of Skywalker was "more daunting than watching Endgame," Abrams added, in part because of the creations of George Lucas.

"Because you see these things, and George Lucas, frankly, made it look so easy, and it isn't," he said. "So watching these movies is a humbling thing and realizing this is a religion for some people, and how do you take these things and choose which threads, themes and characters to continue? So it was part of the process, and it was as inspiring as it was intimidating."

Asked if it was more difficult starting a new trilogy with The Force Awakens or ending a trilogy with The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams answered, "It was definitely tougher this time, mostly because it was wrapping up not three films, but nine."

"Obviously the pressure of whatever the revelations would be, whatever the choices were, any choice we made — literally any choice, narrative, design, location — would please someone and infuriate someone else," Abrams continued. "So we just knew this was not about trying to please anyone or, certainly, everyone — because I wouldn't know how to do that, nor do I think you wanna go into something with that ambition — but you want to do something that feels right to you. And so that's what we tried to do."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.