J.J. Abrams Credits His ‘Freer’ Approach On ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ To ‘The Last Jedi’

Although the Disney era of Star Wars has faced plenty of criticism from some darker corners of its fanbase, many of its titles have endured plenty of unrelated behind-the-scenes drama. Amazingly, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi has enjoyed the smoothest ride so far, which is weird considering just how much more vitriol it has received from audiences who weren’t too happy with the director’s liberties with storytelling and character development. Those arguments notwithstanding, it seems returning director J.J. Abrams is taking his cues from his predecessor.

Speaking with Total Film magazine (via sister publication Games Radar), Abrams — who directed The Force Awakens and returned to helm The Rise of Skywalker following Colin Trevorrow’s departure — is crediting Johnson’s particular approach with inspiring his work on the ninth and final entry in the Star Wars Skywalker saga. “On this one, I let myself be, at least in the way I was approaching the thing, freer,” he explained:

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

Abrams noted he didn’t “[feel] constrained or limited” while working on The Force Awakens, though he did “[find himself] wanting to do something that felt more consistent with the original trilogy than not.” After what Johnson pulled off with The Last Jedi and his unplanned return to the franchise, though, the director said he “found myself feeling like I’m just gonna go for it a bit more.”

(Via Total Film)