Expectations for any new installment in a beloved franchise are always high, but Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker is under Endgame levels of pressure. A new Entertainment Weekly story, featuring interviews with the cast and crew of the movie, has helped build up even more hype, while still managing to not drop too many hints about the actual plot.
Several comments from the director, J.J. Abrams, indicate that The Rise of Skywalker is the most ambitious Star Wars movie to date, not just in terms of the stakes of its own story (which he described as "all or nothing"), but also in its unenviable task of providing a definitive ending to the Skywalker Saga, which began over 40 years ago. There are also the practicalities of the film to consider: The Rise of Skywalker comes out next month, but at the time of the interview, the movie was still in the depths of post-production.
"We always knew we were going to have three fewer months to postproduction this film," said Abrams. "So much is still being worked on. It’s literally a practical race to get it finished... We had more reshoots on Episode VII than this one. We had more story adjustments on VII than this one. We didn’t know if these characters would work, if the actors would be able to carry a Star Wars movie. There were a lot of things we didn’t know. On this, we knew who and what worked, and everyone is doing the best work I’ve ever seen anyone do. But the ambition of this movie is far greater than Force Awakens. What we set out to do was far more challenging. Everything is exponentially larger on this."
All that being said, Abrams insisted that he felt "infinitely better" about The Rise of Skywalker than he did during the same pre-release period for The Force Awakens, and that the movie will finally draw a line under the long-running story of the Skywalker family.
"While the film is introducing new characters, Abrams insists Rise of Skywalker won’t set up a future story," wrote EW's James Hibberd. "He’s not leaving loose threads for Disney to hang another trilogy directly onto the back of this one." Anthony Daniels, who has played C-3PO since 1977, said of the movie's conclusion: "It’s a very good ending, and a good ending feels right."
While the characters we know might not be returning, there are plans afoot for new stories in the Star Wars universe: in addition to The Mandalorian, which is currently streaming on Disney+, Kevin Feige has been hired to produce a brand new adventure, while the fate of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' now-abandoned trilogy remains unclear.
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