A lot of Star Wars fans have been curious about how the choices that Rian Johnson made in The Last Jedi would affect J.J. Abrams as he developed the story for The Rise of Skywalker. As you know, The Last Jedi made some big, interesting, and surprising choices, but Abrams seemed to enjoy what Johnson did with the story, embraced them, and used then to help strengthen the story that he wanted to tell in this final film in the saga.
In an interview with Esquire, Abrams was asked what it was like to follow Johnson’s film and how his bold choices changed his approach to making The Rise of Skywalker. This was his response:
“There were some choices that made things a bit more fun for us, because, for example, Rian didn’t have the whole group collaborative adventure of it together, and that was really fun to get to tell the story of the group, the droids, out on one breakneck, crazy, desperate adventure. You know? The choices that he made for me were as a fan, as a reader of the script, a fan of his, a fan of Star Wars…it was just fun to read someone’s take that was so about surprising the viewer and it was just really entertaining, because it was, it got to surprise me nearly every time. So, I loved it for that.
As a filmmaker, working on episode IX, amazingly, nothing that he did in Last Jedi got in the way of things that we had talked about wanting to do down the line, ideas that I had about where things might go, so…it wasn’t like his story somehow derailed the things I wanted to pursue. In fact, strangely, they might have even helped strengthen them because we got to make some choices that sort of take advantage of the fact that Rian hadn’t done the things that we were thinking about doing.”
I’m sure the Star Wars fans who didn’t like The Last Jedi rolled their eyes all the way through Abrams’ comments. While I thought the movie was great, I understand why some fans don’t like it. As for what Johnson thinks, in a recent interview with CinemaBlend’s podcast Reelblend, he revealed why he’s actually happy for the online hate:
“In terms of the bad stuff, I’ll tell you it’s interesting. That’s been one of the really healthy things for me about the past couple of years, is getting exposed to it. Before I made The Last Jedi, I had never had anyone hate me on the internet. If during the course of a year I got one negative tweet I would go into a panic. I’d be like ‘Oh my god, someone out there doesn’t like me. I need to fix this!’ The thing is though, I am really really thankful. Because what that meant is that my sense of self-worth was attached to the notion of everybody liking me online. And the fact that this process has made me, out of survival, disconnect from that.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.