Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams
Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Release date: 20 December, 2019
Running Time: 155 Minutes
The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is an upcoming American epic space opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It will be the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga”. It is being produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot Productions, and will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film’s ensemble cast includes Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams.
The Rise of Skywalker will see the Resistance face the First Order once more, and the end of the ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Principal photography began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios in England, and wrapped in February 2019. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 20, 2019.
A year after the events of The Last Jedi, the remnants of the Resistance face the First Order once again—while reckoning with the past and their own inner turmoil. Meanwhile, the ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its climax, bringing the Skywalker saga to a definitive end.
In October 2012, Star Wars creator George Lucas sold his production company Lucasfilm, and with it the Star Wars franchise, to The Walt Disney Company. Disney subsequently announced the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In June 2014, it was announced that Rian Johnson, writer and director of The Last Jedi, would write a story treatment for Episode IX. In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as the director of the film; he was to write the script with frequent collaborator Derek Connolly. In April 2017, Johnson stated that he was not involved in writing the film. In February 2016, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger confirmed that pre-production on Episode IX had begun. In late April 2017, Disney announced that the film would be released on May 24, 2019. A month later, filming was expected to begin in January 2018, but this was later pushed back to August.
In August 2017, it was announced that Jack Thorne would rewrite the script. On September 5, 2017, Lucasfilm stated that Trevorrow had left the production following creative differences. The Hollywood Reporter reported that his working relationship with Kathleen Kennedy had become unmanageable after failing to deliver a satisfactory script, despite writing several drafts. Johnson was rumored as the top choice to replace Trevorrow as director, but stated “it was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX.” The next day, it was announced that J. J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, would return to direct the film, and that the film’s release date would be moved to December 20, 2019. The story team met with George Lucas before writing the new script, which Abrams co-wrote with Chris Terrio; Trevorrow and Connolly retain story credits. The story was rewritten to some extent before filming was completed. The film is being produced by Abrams’s company Bad Robot Productions, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan.
Before filming, Episode IX was initially given the working title Black Diamond, which was then changed to Trixie for unknown reasons. The title, The Rise of Skywalker, was announced at April 2019’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.
Billy Dee Williams returns to the franchise as Lando Calrissian onscreen for the first time since Return of the Jedi.
Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa, died in December 2016. Variety and Reuters reported that she had been planned for a key role in The Rise of Skywalker. In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated that there were no plans to digitally generate Fisher’s performance as they had for Rogue One. The following April, Fisher’s brother Todd revealed that Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, had granted Disney the rights to use recent footage of Fisher. However, a week later, Kathleen Kennedy stated that Fisher would not appear in the film. In July 2018, J. J. Abrams announced that unused footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens would be used to help complete the story. A week later, it was revealed that unseen footage from The Last Jedi would also be used. According to Todd Fisher,
There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. … It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday
In July 2018, Keri Russell was in talks to play a part with some “action-heavy fight scenes”, and it was confirmed that Billy Dee Williams will return as Lando Calrissian, onscreen for the first time since 1983’s Return of the Jedi—marking one of the longest intervals between portrayals of a character by the same actor in American film history. At the end of July, Russell was confirmed to have been cast, and there was an announcement of returning and additional new cast members. In late August, Deadline Hollywood announced that Dominic Monaghan and Matt Smith had been cast in unspecified roles, but Smith later denied his involvement. In April 2019, Disney’s British website also listed Smith as being in the film, but removed his and Monaghan’s name the following month. Jimmy Vee and Greg Grunberg reprise their roles as R2-D2 and Temmin “Snap” Wexley, respectively. Brian Herring returns to puppeteer BB-8.
At Star Wars Celebration in April 2019, it was revealed that Ian McDiarmid will return to portray Palpatine. Since the event was held after principal photography wrapped, Abrams was thrilled that news of McDiarmid on the set never leaked.
Principal photography began on August 1, 2018, at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. Filming also took place in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Oscar Isaac stated that Abrams was allowing more improvised acting than in the previous two films. Due to the tight schedule, some editing took place on set. On January 28, 2019, Anthony Daniels finished filming for his role as C-3PO in the film. Principal photography wrapped on February 15, 2019. Footage from the film was shown at The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders meeting on March 7, 2019. Reshoots took place at Bad Robot Productions between late September and mid-October.
The film is currently in post-production. The visual effects will be provided by Industrial Light & Magic and supervised by Roger Guyett.
In July 2013, Kennedy announced at Star Wars Celebration Europe that John Williams would return to score the Star Wars sequel trilogy. On January 10, 2018, it was confirmed that Williams would return to compose and conduct The Rise of Skywalker. The next month, Williams announced that it would be the last Star Wars film for which he would compose the score. In August 2019, it was revealed that Williams had written about 35 of an expected 135 minutes of music for the film, which according to Williams’s brother Don, will incorporate all of the major themes of the Skywalker saga.
Though Abrams has stayed silent about many details of the film, he has expressed his hopes that audiences will be “satisfied.” He headed a panel dedicated to the film on April 12, 2019, during Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Illinois, where the film’s title was revealed via the first trailer, and new images were shown. The trailer was viewed 111 million times in the first 24 hours of its release, which was 20 million more views than the teaser for The Last Jedi and more than double that of The Force Awakens.
A publishing campaign titled “Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was announced on May 4, 2019 (Star Wars Day). It will include the novel Resistance Reborn, set between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, and various other titles. Additionally, the story events of the Disneyland themed area Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge precede the film, including the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run motion simulator, which features Chewbacca. On August 24, a new poster and “sizzle reel” was released at D23; the latter was released to the public two days later. The footage includes a montage of the Skywalker saga so far, as well as several new shots from the film.
The final trailer was released on October 21, 2019 during Monday Night Football (the anniversary of Carrie Fisher’s birthday). Pre-sale tickets went on sale the same day, and the film sold more tickets in their first hour of availability on Atom Tickets than the previous record-holder for ticket sales, Avengers: Endgame. It became Atom Tickets’ second-best first-day seller of all-time behind Endgame, selling more than twice the number of tickets than The Last Jedi sold in that same timeframe, while Fandango reported it outsold all previous Star Wars films.
The Rise of Skywalker will be released on December 20, 2019 in the United States. It was originally planned to be released on May 24 before being pushed back. The film will be released on Disney+ in 2020.
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