Star Wars 9 has an almost impossible task ahead. It needs to bring three trilogies to a satisfying close while somehow reconciling a fan base divided by Episode 8. Johnson’s bold vision did not plesae all fans. This is nothing new in Star Wars history (Jar Jar and midichlorians, anyone?) but it is the first time a significant section of the core fandom felt a movie had betrayed everything they loved about the franchise. Abrams has declared his intention to honour all that came before and one of his new stars (and close friends) has explained how.
Keri Russell will play mysterious new character Zorri Bliss. She is one of Abrams’ favourite actors has been sharing teasers of her experience on the upcoming movie.
Russell told Associated Press how moving she found Abrams’ original concept for the final instalmemnt in the Skywalker saga: “When I read his script that he wrote I cried.”
This echoes what many other cast members have been saying. But it was what she said next that really hammers home the fact that Abrams may be “course correcting”, as some fans hope.
Obviously, many don’t believe The Last Jedi needs any correction but a huge part of the fandom felt it was somewhat dismissive of many of the core elements of the main franchise.
Russell should know better than almost anyone, thanks to her close relationship with the director ever since he cast her in the star-making show Felicity and, subsequently, many of his projects after that. Abrams was also there to help present Russell with her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.
The actress has just reassured fans of Abrams’ devotion to the original spirit of Star Wars.
She said: “He’s not trying to change it to be something else. He really respects what it is.”
This can be taken as a simple acknowledgement of Abrams’ devotion to the original tone of Star Wars which was already evident in The Force Awakens.
Following The Last Jedi, which openly declared “The past must die”, her comment carries a little more significance. The biggest criticism of The Last Jedi was that Johnson was trying to make Star Wars something that it wasn’t at the wrong time in the wrong place.
It’s tempting to read Russell’s comments as a direct rebuttal of that divisive attempt to completely reinvent the saga. At the very least, it should reassure fans that Abrams is bringing it all home in a way that honours what so many fans hold dear.
STAR WARS 9 RISE OF SKYWALKER IS OUT ON DECEMBER 19