George Lucas orchestrated the events of the original and prequel trilogies for the Star Wars franchise, but the development of the sequel trilogy has been more of a relay race with one filmmaker picking up where the last film left off, yet Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams confirms that nothing that happened in Star Wars: The Last Jedi derailed his plans for the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. With Abrams having developed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, some audiences speculated about how writer/director Rian Johnson might have made irreversible changes to the overall narrative with various elements that film set up, but Abrams himself claims nothing that happened in the film prevented him from delivering an inevitable conclusion to the series.
"There were some choices that made things a bit more fun for us, because, for example, Rian didn't have the whole group collaborative adventure of it together, and that was really fun to get to tell the story of the group, the droids, out on one breakneck, crazy, desperate adventure. You know?" Abrams shared with Esquire. "The choices that he made for me were as a fan, as a reader of the script, a fan of his, a fan of Star Wars... it was just fun to read someone's take that was so about surprising the viewer and it was just really entertaining, because it was, it got to surprise me nearly every time. So, I loved it for that."
He continued, "As a filmmaker, working on Episode IX, amazingly, nothing that he did in Last Jedi got in the way of things that we had talked about wanting to do down the line, ideas that I had about where things might go, so... it wasn't like his story somehow derailed the things I wanted to pursue. In fact, strangely, they might have even helped strengthen them because we got to make some choices that sort of take advantage of the fact that Rian hadn't done the things that we were thinking about doing."
In The Force Awakens, Abrams set up Supreme Leader Snoke to potentially be a major player in the rest of the franchise, only for The Last Jedi to unexpectedly kill the villain. While some fans were surprised that the character met his demise before becoming a figure as powerful as Emperor Palpatine, Abrams previously revealed that he couldn't help but laugh when he learned of this development.
"When I read his first draft, it made me laugh, because I saw that was his take and his voice," Abrams shared with Rolling Stone. "I got to watch cuts of the movie as he was working on it, as an audience member. And I appreciated the choices he made as a filmmaker that would probably be very different from the choices that I would have made. Just as he would have made different choices if he had made Episode VII."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.
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