Back in 2015, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens released, offering something of a nostalgic retread of A New Hope. But for the sequel, JJ Abrams’ narrative plot points were handed over to Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed the controversial Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
Now Abrams is back in the director’s chair for Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
On where Johnson took The Last Jedi, he admitted to laughing at the first draft of the script.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, Abrams said: “When I read his first draft, it made me laugh because I saw that was his take and his voice.
“I got to watch cuts of the movie as he was working on it, as an audience member.”
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Asked how The Last Jedi affected him, Abrams admitted: “I had a real sense with [Force Awakens co-screenwriter] Larry Kasdan about where things would go, potentially.
“And I think that, when I read Rian’s script, what I felt was that with everything that happens in that movie, and quite a lot does, nothing sort of obviated a sense of inevitability where I thought the story could go.”
Meanwhile, Abrams has teased The Rise of Skywalker is daring and freer because of The Last Jedi.
Speaking with Slash Film, he said: “On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer.”
He added: “In Episode VII, I was adhering to a kind of approach that felt right for Star Wars in my head.
“It was about finding a visual language, like shooting on locations and doing practical things as much as possible.
“And we continue that in Episode IX, but I also found myself doing things that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode VII.”
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits UK cinemas on December 19, 2019.