Star Wars: Director J.J. Abrams Explains Why The Rise of Skywalker Didn’t Answer All of Its Questions

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker writer-director J.J. Abrams wanted to make his finale for the nine-movie saga “conclusive” by answering burning questions raised by the sequel trilogy, but the filmmaker says a story is capable of succeeding without “demystifying everything.” Citing creator George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, which Abrams says “answered a lot of questions,” Abrams wanted to avoid explanations that were too thorough: he references midi-chlorians, microscopic organisms within the living cells of all things determining their connection to the Force, a concept conceived by Lucas at the dawn of Star Wars but not utilized until 1999's Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

“We knew going in that we had to make this feel conclusive. It had to come to an end,” Abrams said on Popcorn with Peter Travers. “And yet, there are certain things that I feel… here’s the way I feel about Star Wars. It’s the reason that I loved the original trilogy so much — and the reason I loved the original trilogy more than the prequel trilogy, for me — which was that the original trilogy posed great questions, and allowed you to infer the answer. It allowed you to do the math on your own.”

Conversely, the prequel trilogy — “Which I love for a lot of reasons, but it’s not as much my favorite as the original,” Abrams noted — answered “a lot of questions.”

“Now, I’m not someone who needs to know about midi-chlorians. That doesn’t feel like it’s a thing for me,” he said. “That’s not to say, however, in this movie we didn’t adhere to the eight films that preceded us and tell an ending that embraces all of it. I didn’t go against that stuff because I didn’t like it as much. But my point is that there’s something about answers, you need answers, but I don’t think demystifying everything is necessarily the key to a successful story.”

The Rise of Skywalker did resolve the mystery surrounding Rey (Daisy Ridley) — revealing the nature of her abandonment on Jakku and her true lineage — but the film left other questions, including specifics behind the return of the late Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), largely unanswered.

Any such lingering threads raised by Skywalker won't be fulfilled by Abrams: the filmmaker says he’s “done” with Star Wars.

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“Yeah, I think I’m done,” Abrams told Variety when asked if he’s “definitely” finished with a galaxy far, far away after helming two of three sequel installments. “Maybe I’ll go back. No, I’m done. I’m done. This time I know. I can feel it. I can feel this is it.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.