Production, not plot, ails The Rise of Skywalker

Anthony Daniels is C-3PO, John Boyega is Finn and Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Anthony Daniels is C-3PO, John Boyega is Finn and Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER /

Most of the issues and complaints with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arose not from its convoluted plot, but its hellish production.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is not a perfect film. While some fans love Episode IX, others (like myself) were not so enthralled with the final installment in the Skywalker Saga. There are serious issues with the film’s pacing and plot that, until recently, seemed to be products of poor storytelling.

However, with rumors of a director’s cut of The Rise of Skywalker, many of the film’s low points are likely a result of poor production, not plot.

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In short, an anonymous Reddit post alleged that there were serious creative quarrels between Disney and director J.J. Abrams. The company and the filmmaker were not on the same page during the production of Episode IX, and Disney reportedly cut scenes from the movie that Abrams wanted to keep. The director’s cut is supposedly over three hours long, which Disney cut to two hours and 22 minutes, which is the length of the cut that is in theaters. After the backlash to Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s risk-taking, Disney understandably wanted to play it safe, which is why the movie seemed somewhat predictable.

Should these rumors prove true, they would reveal the hellish production that accompanied The Rise of Skywalker. The significant cuts to the film’s runtime would explain why the story felt rushed and its plot points unfounded, and Disney’s hesitance to risk-taking is why the film feels safe. However, these allegations are of yet, baseless, so take them with a grain of salt.

Putting aside unconfirmed rumors of Disney’s involvement in the “J.J. Cut,” it is still evident that The Rise of Skywalker suffered from editing and production issues. Its space battles are far less dazzling from its two cinematic predecessors, and the lightsaber battles fail to capture the intensity of duels from the past.

Specifically, there is a scene towards the end of the film — right after Ben Solo revives Rey — that shows Ben looking at Rey, seemingly listening to the words coming from her moving mouth, but no sound is coming out.

The scene plays as if Ben and Rey are staring at each other, silently, admiring each other. However, Rey’s mouth movement is glaringly obvious, which shows the issue filmmakers had during the editing process.

All this being said, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suffers gravely from poor editing and production, not plot. If you believe in the “J.J. Cut,” then you know that the fierce production of the movie led to its rushed and convoluted story. Much of the plot’s explanation was likely to cut to save time.

Even if you don’t buy into the rumors, it is hard to deny the film’s poor editing compared to the saga’s previous two episodes. Its action scenes are a step below other movies, and certain scenes highlight obvious editing mishaps.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently in theaters.