J.J. Abrams and the rest of the cast and crew of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are hitting the interview circuits ahead of the movie’s December 19th release date. While on the interview trail, Abrams spoke to Total Film about his experience on both TROS and The Force Awakens and how they differ from each other.

“On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer. 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.” 


Abrams credited a past Star Wars filmmaker with opening his mind to the possibilities beyond what had already been done in the saga. That filmmaker? None other than Rian Johnson.

“Rian helped remind me that that’s why we’re on these movies – not to just do something that you’ve seen before. 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.” 

People have varied opinions about Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi, but it is pretty clear that Johnson has inspired Abrams to think outside of the box for the final film of the Skywalker saga.

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