When J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens was released in 2015, continuing a franchise that began in 1977 with George Lucas’ A New Hope, one of the biggest revelations about the movie’s director was his superfandom. Abrams was a Star Wars stan, ready to revive the then-dormant franchise by bringing it back to basics. The movie turned out to be refreshingly simple, an echo of its antecedents in theme and story. It even looked familiar, returning to the analog aesthetic of Lucas’ original trilogy.
But that might change with The Rise of Skywalker. Reflecting on his work in a new Vanity Fair cover story, Abrams hinted that the movie, set to be released in December, will represent a departure from the rest. “Working on nine, I found myself approaching it slightly differently,” he revealed to the magazine. “Which is to say that, on seven, I felt beholden to Star Wars in a way that was interesting—I was doing what to the best of my ability I felt Star Wars should be.” But Abrams shifted this strategy for Skywalker, making stylistic and story-oriented choices that were less Lucas’ and more his own. “It felt slightly more renegade; it felt slightly more like, you know, Fuck it, I’m going to do the thing that feels right because it does, not because it adheres to something.”
Predictably, Abrams and the rest of the team are keeping the details of these “renegade” decisions tightly under lock, offering only that “this trilogy is about this young generation, this new generation, having to deal with all the debt that has come before.” He added, “It’s less about grandeur. It’s less about restoring an old age. It’s more about preserving a sense of freedom and not being one of the oppressed.”