Don't expect a rehash of Return of the Jedi with The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams, who previously helmed The Force Awakens, has returned to the Lucasfilm fold to help round out the trilogy he started in 2015. But whereas Episode VII played things a little safe, Abrams says he felt more free this time around, and much of that is owned to The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

One of the big questions heading into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is whether or not J.J. Abrams would play it safe, given the divisive response to The Last Jedi. During a recent interview, the filmmaker opened up a bit about the process this time around and explained that his approach was different, in that, he didn't feel the need to play it so safe. Here's what he had to say about it.

"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."

While there is a great deal of love for The Force Awakens out there, there are also plenty who will point out all of the similarities it shares with A New Hope. But the Disney era of Lucasfilm couldn't afford to make the same mistakes that George Lucas made on the prequels. They needed something that would get people excited about Star Wars again. It's hard to deny the strategy worked.

But when J.J. Abrams stepped away and let Rian Johnson come in to write and direct Episode VIII, which we now know as The Last Jedi, things changed. Johnson took some big swings and, depending on which side of the line one falls on, those are either considered home runs or big misses. However, Abrams attributes Johnson's big swings for allowing him to take more risks on Episode IX.

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"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."

The concluding chapter of the Skywalker Saga largely remains mysterious. We know Palpatine is coming back. We know the First Order and the Resistance will be having one final battle for the fate of the galaxy. Beyond that? We'll have to see what surprises J.J. Abrams has up his sleeve. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to hit theaters on December 20. This news comes to us via Games Radar.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott