In the weeks leading up to the release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the film’s talent have made it clear they have issues with Rian Johnson’s polarizing “The Last Jedi.” John Boyega said in an interview with Hypebeast this week that he disagreed with Johnson’s “Last Jedi” storytelling choices which divided main characters Rey, Poe, and Finn into separate storylines (much as “The Empire Strikes Back” had done). Now “Force Awakens” and “Rise of Skywalker” director J.J. Abrams is expressing similar thoughts to Yahoo Entertainment reporter Kevin Polowy.
“When [Johnson] came to work on the next film, and we were just starting to shoot ‘The Force Awakens,’ I was really excited to see where he would go and what he would do,” Abrams said. “And it’s funny because one of the things I was thinking at first was, ‘Oh, I really want to see all the friends together.’ And in his story, they really weren’t. Rey doesn’t really meet Poe until the end. Rey and Finn are not really together in the movie.”
Abrams added, “So in a way the story that he told in a lot of ways helped set up what we’re doing in 9. But it also allowed Episode 9 to have the group together and out on an adventure in a way that weirdly, even though it’s the third film, it’s the first time they are all together. There’s a lot of details Ryan set up that we run with in this movie. I don’t think this movie would’ve been nearly what it is without the choices Rian made, so I’m nothing but grateful.”
Unfortunately for Abrams, his wish for “The Last Jedi” makes little sense considering where he left the story in “The Force Awakens.” “The Force Awakens,” with a script credited to Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt, ends with Rey venturing out on her own to find Luke Skywalker while Finn is out of commission in a coma. That ending guaranteed the friends wouldn’t be together in “The Last Jedi” as Abrams wanted to see. So then why is Abrams subtly expressing disappointment with Johnson for keeping the characters separated? Abrams’ script set up “The Last Jedi” to be that way. At least “Star Wars” fans can take comfort in knowing Rey, Finn, and Poe will be one unit in the upcoming “Rise of Skywalker.”
Disney is opening “The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters nationwide December 20.
Here’s J.J. Abrams’ full response when I asked him about Rian Johnson’s contributions to the new Star Wars trilogy with The Last Jedi. pic.twitter.com/Ke05bFOm9m
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) December 12, 2019