Principal photography began in 2018, and filming wrapped in 2019. Footage from The Rise of Skywalker was first made public on April 12, 2019 at Celebration Chicago. The film is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.
"Genre-wise, it's different from the other two, which will become clear when the film comes out. It's quite emotional. There's a different drive than the previous two films, but there's a lot of fun. I really missed John [Boyega] during the last one, but we're back together and now Oscar [Isaac] is part of it. To me, it felt like kids going on an adventure."
"To have no script and to have a release date and have it be essentially a two-year window when you're saying (to yourself), you've got two years from the decision to do it to release, and you have literally nothing.... You don't have the story, you don't have the cast, you don't have the designers, the sets. There was a crew, and there were things that will be worked on for the version that preceded ours, but this was starting over."
―J.J. Abrams, on taking over from Colin Trevorrow[src]
In August2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as director for Episode IX. As J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson had to ensure a smooth transition between Episodes VII and VIII, Johnson and Trevorrow worked closely to ensure continuity between their respective films. With cinematographer John Schwartzman, Trevorrow planned to shoot on 65 mm film, and wanted to capture some footage in actual outer space. By 2016, Lucasfilm had developed a full outline, which Trevorrow then turned into a screenplay. He presented the completed script to Lucasfilm (as well as Lucas and Hamill) in early December of that year.
Various reports claimed that both Abrams and Johnson were involved with the story for The Rise of Skywalker, though they each denied this, with Abrams saying on his part "We don't write a treatment but there are countless times we came up with something and said 'oh, this would be so great for Episode VIII!' or 'Thats what we could get to in IX!' According to The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, the Lucasfilm creative team developed a general idea early on as to how they wanted the film to end. This was echoed by Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver: "With Star Wars, I had one piece of information of where it was all going, and that's where it has been in my head for a long time, and things were building towards that." Carrie Fisher's brother, Todd Fisher, told yahoo.com that initial plans for the film had Leia playing a key role, reportedly becoming the "last Jedi" referenced in the title of its predecessor. Producer Kathleen Kennedy also said that Palpatine's return was planned from the beginning.
"The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016. In light of this, Trevorrow met with Kennedy in January2017 to discuss possible story solutions. Kennedy said that the team had "pretty much started over" and it was reported that Jack Thorne was hired to rewrite the initial script. However, in September 2017, it was announced that Trevorrow had left the project due to creative differences, and that he would be replaced by Abrams. (Disney reportedly agreed to pay a fee to Paramount Pictures so that Abrams could make the film, as he had been in breach of contract with the latter by his involvement in The Force Awakens.) Abrams pitched his story to Disney head Bob Iger in December 2017 and had a script ready by February2018. As he told Rolling Stone, "I had no intention to return. But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven".
Due to the time constraints and pressure of returning to the series, Abrams asked Chris Terrio to co-write the film. Abrams later described the writing process as “this crazy challenge that could have been a wildly uncomfortable contortion of ideas and shoving in of answers and Band-Aids and bridges ... I feel like we've gotten to a place–without jinxing anything–where we might have something incredibly special.” In May 2018, he told The Wall Street Journal: "I had a bunch of ideas from the beginning, back on VII, of where the story would go. I just never in my wildest dreams thought I would have a chance to execute them". The creative team met with Lucas, Johnson and Kasdan before writing the script. According to Abrams, Lucas explained many of his own ideas about the Force and the midi-chlorians. They were determined to make a film that would conclude the Skywalker saga and tie together the previous eight chapters. According to Rey actress Daisy Ridley, the story changed significantly during pre-production.
Lucasfilm dispelled rumors that it would digitally recreate Fisher in future films. Fisher's brother Todd said that he and Billie Lourd had granted Lucasfilm rights to use footage of her. Kennedy initially claimed that Ms. Fisher would not appear in the film, though Abrams later confirmed that Ms. Fisher will appear in the film via unused footage from The Force Awakens. Mr. Fisher credited this decision to Abrams, who said "It was like finding this impossible answer to this impossible question". According to Mr. Fisher: "There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don't mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That's what's going to give everybody such a great kick. It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.” (in addition to that of The Force Awakens, he claimed that unused footage from The Last Jedi would be used as well).Poe Dameron actor Oscar Isaac revealed during an interview with The Daily Beast that, while Fisher's appearance in the film will be brief, the film's story deals with it quite a bit and will appropriately pay homage to Ms. Fisher in a really "beautiful way".
Abrams felt less creatively constrained in making The Rise of Skywalker than he did with The Force Awakens, citing Rian Johnson's work on The Last Jedi as the inspiration: "Rian helped remind me that that's why we're on these movies–not to just do something that you've seen before." According to Oscar Isaac, the shooting of The Rise of Skywalker allowed for more improvisation than The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi; "It's a testament to J.J. coming back and feeling confident. There's less pressure for it to be right. We just want to make a good movie and have a really good time while doing it." Daisy Ridley performed the majority of her character's stunts herself. Prior to shooting, members of the cast were trained in various specialties to prepare for the shoot, such as kickboxing, horseback riding, using a bow-and-arrow and holding a gun. Filmmaker Kevin Smith visited the set (just as he did for The Force Awakens) and described what he saw: "Biggest set I've ever seen in my life. The dude's not directing a movie, it's like he's directing a small country." The script was under even greater security than those of previous films, with actors not allowed to take copies home. By December 11, 2018, Hamill had worked for "about a week" on the film, but had yet to shoot most of his scenes, which he expected to do alongside his work on the TV series Knightfall.
"The beauty of working with Chris Terrio and producing with Kathleen Kennedy is that I think we have found a way — I hope, it's up for you to decide — to bring this story to a conclusion in a way that feels satisfying, surprising, amusing, shocking, all the ways that a story should make you feel."
John Williams had begun work on the musical score as of May 2019, and was scheduled to begin recording in June. He has said that it will most likely be his final Star Wars project.
Abrams told Entertainment Weekly that the film had significantly less post-production time than normal, and that it was "literally a practical race to get it finished.” However, he felt more confident about The Rise of Skywalker than he had The Force Awakens. The film was the first project for a new ILM division in Sydney, Australia.
Tickets went on sale October 21, followed by the release of the final trailer on Monday Night Football and the theatrical poster. Lucasfilm is collaborating with Porsche on a new Star Wars spaceship design that will be built for the film's premiere. Beginning on December 18, AMC Theaters will hold a 27+ hour marathon of Episodes I through VIII, leading up to Episode IX. Adam Driver, Greg Grunberg and Mark Hamill are each holding Omaze fundraisers for which winners can attend the film's premier.
↑ 8.08.18.28.184.108.40.206.7James Dyer (@jamescdyer) on Twitter "In case there’s any lingering ambiguity from the trailer (and McDiarmid’s appearance at the panel!), I can 100% confirm that Palpatine is back in The Rise Of Skywalker as I just asked J.J. He's thrilled - and slightly incredulous- that McDiarmid’s presence on set didn't leak." (screenshot)
↑J.J. Abrams (@jjabrams) on Twitter "It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on Episode IX. There is no adequate way to thank this truly magical crew and cast. I’m forever indebted to you all."