- "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."
- ―J.J. Abrams
Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, marketed as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is an upcoming 2019 film directed by J.J. Abrams from a script by Abrams and Chris Terrio. It will be the third and final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The film, produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, is a continuation of 2015's The Force Awakens, which Abrams also directed and co-wrote, and 2017's The Last Jedi. Lucasfilm has referred to The Rise of Skywalker as the final film of the Skywalker saga.
The film stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, 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, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams, who is reprising his role as Lando Calrissian. The late Carrie Fisher will appear via unused footage from The Force Awakens. The film was first announced after The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Colin Trevorrow was initially announced as the director and writer of the film, but he and Lucasfilm parted ways in September 2017, with Lucasfilm citing "creative differences" over the project. On September 12, 2017, Abrams and Terrio were announced as the new director and writers.
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.
- "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
Long before Lucasfilm's acquisition by Disney in 2012, Star Wars creator George Lucas mentioned that he had plans to make nine films. Producer Gary Kurtz mentioned in a 1999 interview that Lucas' plans for Episode IX included the first appearance of the Emperor, a plot point ultimately used in the original trilogy's conclusion. Lucas once estimated to film Episode IX in 2011 back in 1976 and wanted Mark Hamill to make a cameo in the film "like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope". According to Hamill, Lucas's outline for the sequel trilogy had Luke Skywalker surviving until Episode IX and training Leia Organa in the Force. Hamill was an advocate for this version of the story.
In August 2015, 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." Producer Kathleen Kennedy also said that Palpatine's return was planned from the beginning.
Death of Carrie FisherEdit
- "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."
- ―Kathleen Kennedy, on Carrie Fisher's death
Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016. In light of this, Trevorrow met with Kennedy in January 2017 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 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 February 2018. 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. 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".
- "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."
- ―Daisy Ridley
Principal photography began at Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018, under the working title of "trlXie" (originally "Black Diamond"). Production also took place in Wadi Rum, Jordan (the same filming location for Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) for three weeks. Some sequences were filmed with 65mm film and IMAX cameras. Because the film was under a shortened production timeline, the crew had to shoot everything they needed during principal photography, and Maryann Brandon began editing on set.
Abrams felt less creatively constrained in making The Rise of Skywalker than he did The Force Awakens—citing Rian Johnson's work on The Last Jedi as the inspiration. 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. 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 film was originally scheduled for release on May 24, 2019, but was later pushed back to December 20, giving the May 24 date to the live-action remake of Aladdin. Footage was first publicly screened at Disney's March 8 investor's conference, and briefly at CinemaCon 2019 as part of a montage of upcoming Disney films. The film was featured in a panel at Celebration Chicago, featuring director/co-writer J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy. The teaser trailer debuted at this event, which also revealed the film's title and teaser poster. During the convention, Abrams, Kennedy, and members of the cast were interviewed for Good Morning America. In May 2019, the film was featured in an issue of Vanity Fair. A panel was held at the 2019 D23 Expo, featuring cast and crew, with the reveal of a new teaser poster and new footage.
In November 2018, Lucasfilm debuted the animated shorts Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures as an introduction to the saga for children, beginning a year-long lead-up to the film. In December 2018, Topps began a year-long campaign, dubbed "Star Wars Galactic Moments: Countdown to Episode IX," in which three cards are released each week leading up to the release of the film. Sith trooper merchandise will debut in stores on September 1, 2019, while the film's main merchandise push will begin on October 4, 2019, known as Triple Force Friday. Aside from The Rise of Skywalker, the event will also debut merchandise for the TV series The Mandalorian and the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Like with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the months leading up to the debut of The Rise of Skywalker will also see the release of tie-in novels, short stories, comics, reference books, and activity books known collectively as Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. United Airlines will fly a line of planes with The Rise of Skywalker paintjobs.
According to Forbes writer Scott Mendelson, the film is projected to open to higher box office records given that films like Wonder Woman 1984, James Bond 25, and Death on the Nile have been all pushed back to 2020. As of the current moment, The Rise of Skywalker will compete at box office with Jumanji: The Next Level and Cats. A Fandango poll ranked the film as the third most anticipated movie of 2019, behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker on Wikipedia