Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Director Talks Palpatine And Delivering A "True Ending"

"The weirder thing would be if Palpatine didn't return."


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is less than a month away from release, and director JJ Abrams has now shared some interesting insight on two major topics. Speaking to Uproxx, Abrams spoke about why Palpatine is returning and how the film will deliver a "true" ending that answers some of the questions fans have been asking for years.

On the subject of bringing back the villainous Palpatine, Abrams said it only makes logical sense for the character to return given the story and subject matter.

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"When you look at this as nine chapters of a story, perhaps the weirder thing would be if Palpatine didn’t return," Abrams said. "You just look at what he talks about, who he is, how important he is, what the story is--strangely, his absence entirely from the third trilogy would be conspicuous. It would be very weird."

Abrams, who also wrote and directed 2015's The Force Awakens, said he and co-writer Larry Kasdan "didn't do it in a vacuum."

"We very purposely looked at what came before. We chose to tell a story that touches upon specific things and themes and ideas that we’ve seen before, to begin a new story," he said. "But we examined all that came before to ask where does this feel like it’s going?"

Abrams said The Force Awakens contained "threads" that referenced Palpatine coming back, but he wanted to make sure they were subtle. The 2017 sequel The Last Jedi was written and directed by Rian Johnson, and some wondered if the new director would change things up as it relates to the three-movie story that Abrams and Kasdan had in mind at the start. Abrams was able to meet with Johnson, and upon reading his script for The Last Jedi, he was happy to learn that it didn't impact his wider ideas.

"When I read the script [for The Last Jedi], I realized this didn't get in the way of anything Larry and I talked about that I thought I'd get to," he said. "There were some very specific things we did get to do in [The Rise of Skywalker] that we were laughing and going, 'Oh my god, we're finally doing that thing we talked about five years ago."

The Rise of Skywalker was originally set to be directed by Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow with a script from other writers. But after Disney fired Trevorrow, Abrams returned and began the process of finding out exactly where he could take the story.

"When [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy called and I got back on that train, I started asking where does this go? So, suddenly, we were there having to do it," he said. "The rubber was hitting the road. So, we went back to the threads that were exciting to us and then we found new ones."

Little is known about the story of The Rise of Skywalker, though it's expected to be a dramatic conclusion to the Skywalker saga that began back in 1977. Abrams said the film will deliver a "true ending" that should satisfy viewers even if it doesn't answer every lingering question. Some are wondering if we will finally learn more about Snoke, the Andy Serkis character that was seemingly being set up for a big reveal but who died in The Last Jedi. That may not happen, however.

"I will say, without giving anything away, knowing this movie is an ending is, for me infinitely more challenging than a beginning," Abrams said. "We knew we needed to provide answers. And while there may be some things that aren’t entirely demystified by the end of it, we wanted to make sure people left feeling that they were satisfied. So I hope, on a number of issues, people will leave and feel like that it's a true ending and not an advertising ploy. We really are bringing it to an end."

The Rise of Skywalker comes to theatres on December 20.

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