- J.J. Abrams revealed in a new interview with Rolling Stone that the choices Rian Johnson made in The Last Jedi would have been 'very different' from the ones he would have.
- He was an executive producer on The Last Jedi, so he was still involved in the process of making that film.
- Abrams is back in the director's seat for The Last Skywalker, out December 19.
In a way, J.J. Abrams has become the shepherd of the latest Star Wars trilogy, directing the first—The Force Awakens—and third—The Rise of Skywalker—films in the chapter. Sandwiched in between, though, is another movie you may have heard of: The Last Jedi. Directed by Rian Johnson, The Last Jedi did things Star Wars movies have never done before, on the level of characters, storyline, and more—and that's split the fandom of one of the largest fandoms in all of entertainment. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Abrams addressed how different what Johnson did in The Last Jedi was, and how the movie seemed to undo some of what he did in The Force Awakens.
"I appreciated the choices he made as a filmmaker that would probably be very different from the choices that I would have made," Abrams said in the interview. "Just as he would have made different choices if he had made Episode VII. "
Additionally, Abrams revealed that he was OK with it when he first read Johnson's Last Jedi script, and that he was able to watch cuts of the movie as an onlooker while it was in production (While Johnson wrote and directed The Last Jedi, Abrams was still an executive producer on the project). "When I read his first draft, it made me laugh, because I saw that was his take and his voice," he said.
Abrams said the thing about The Last Jedi he was most surprised by was just how dark Johnson made Luke, but that it fits a theme: the constant subversion of genre expectations. "The number of things that happened in that movie that aren’t the thing you think is going to happen is pretty fun," he says.
Additionally, Abrams says in the interview that he met with George Lucas at the start of production on Rise of Skywalker.
As recently discussed in Disney CEO Bob Iger's memoir, Lucas—the creator of Star Wars—says he felt 'betrayed' by the new Star Wars films, and was dissatisfied with The Force Awakens. "He came over, we had a meeting when we first started working on this [new movie], talked through a ton of different ideas and stories, and heard from him what was important," Abrams revealed.
And even though he's taking it all in stride, Abrams still clearly is at least a little irked that Lucas didn't much care for his previous effort in the franchise.
"Do I wish that [Force Awakens] had been his favorite movie of all time? Yes, I only wanted to do well by him," he said. "I would just say that I have nothing but profound respect for the guy and am still truly, even more so now, working on these movies in awe of what he created."
The Rise of Skywalker will hit theaters on December 19—it won't be long after that, probably, that we'll find out how Lucas feels this time around.
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