J.J. Abrams has revealed there will be new Force powers introduced in The Rise of Skywalker. The director is the one responsible for putting an end to the Skywalker Saga, which is a pretty big deal. The director knows that Star Wars fans are going dislike some of his decisions, while others are going to love it. Actor Richard E. Grant, who is in the movie, says fans are going to love what Abrams has done and be surprised at the same time.
In a new interview promoting Star Wars 9, J.J. Abrams says, "It was really important that we not just redo the things you've seen, but add new elements-which we knew will infuriate some people and thrill others." This is something that has occurred with the reactions to the sequel trilogy so far. Abrams was bashed for keeping things too similar in The Force Awakens and Rian Johnson was criticized for going too far away from the norm in The Last Jedi. It seems Abrams is going for a hehy balance this time around, which includes some changes to the Force. He explains.
"Among those things are not just new ways of doing sort of traditional, must-have sequences, whether it's chases or lightsaber battles, or what have you. We wanted to make sure that this picture also showed aspects of the Force in ways that go beyond what you've seen before."
The Last Jedi made some changes to the Force in regard to Leia Organa. Star Wars fans were stunned to see her fly through space. As expected, some fans were into it, and some were not. The ones who were not into it are still very vocal about it. This is the challenge when creating a new story within the franchise. J.J. Abrams knows he can't please everybody, but he thinks he got the balance right. He had this to say.
"The challenge on this film, being the end of three trilogies, was to tell a story that not only feels inevitable but also feels surprising. There are some people who want to not like something-and they will, without question, find something to not like. And people who want to like it, will find the things to like. I feel like you get criticized for changing too much, you get criticized for not changing enough. And everyone's opinion is valid."
The Rise of Skywalker is putting an end to the Skywalker Saga. We've already seen some pretty big teases in the promotional material to new elements, including an intriguing dagger. But, it's unclear just how far J.J. Abrams is going to shock viewers, especially after how far Rian Johnson went with the last installment. Abrams had this to say about what fans can expect from the highly anticipated movie.
"I can't speak to what it means about the future of Star Wars, but what I can say is that you don't want to come to this movie to see everything you've seen before. You want to come to it because you might love certain characters, and you want to see more of them. You might come to it because you love Star Wars and what it feels like, and what it looks like, what it sounds like. You want to see something that feels like it is moving, that it is shocking, that is also incredibly funny, that has got a big heart. But you want to make sure that you're bringing elements that feel like it's expanding the story, even as this brings it to a close."
The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th and the studio has released quite a bit of footage to promote it. The threequel is one of the most anticipated movies of the decade and there is quite a lot of pressure for it to perform at the box office, which J.J. Abrams is aware of. However, it seems like he just concentrated on making the best balanced movie that he could make. It will be interesting to see how the distance of time will affect the opinions of the sequel trilogy. The interview with Abrams was originally conducted by Vanity Fair.
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...