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J.J. Abrams on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: "I found myself doing things I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode 7"

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The circle is complete. Next month, the final instalment in the trilogy of trilogies, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, will finally arrive in cinemas. 

For director J.J. Abrams, the journey has been a long one. The filmmaker was not initially meant to help Episode 9, but returned to the series after Colin Trevorrow stepped away. Speaking to our sister publication Total Film, Abrams compared working on The Rise of Skywalker to Episode 7, The Force Awakens, which reached cinemas four years ago.

“On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer,” he said. “In Episode 7, 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 9, but I also found myself doing things that I’m not sure I would have been as daring to do on Episode 7.” 

That sounds like a cue from Rian Johnson, whose The Last Jedi was a breath of fresh air in the Star Wars universe. “Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies – not to just do something that you’ve seen before,” Abrams said. “I won’t say that I felt constrained or limited on 7, but I found myself wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not. And on 9, I found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more.” 

You can read the full article, which features an in-depth look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – including quotes from Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Anthony Daniels – in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, which reaches shelves on November 15. 

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I'm the Entertainment Editor over here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews and features. I look after all the Total Film and SFX articles that end up on the website and am in charge of their Twitter accounts. So if you see one of them suddenly Tweeting about Lord of the Rings being the best movie series of all time, that's probably me...