Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams confirms he’s completed the film. As there are (somehow) only a few weeks remaining until the movie hits theaters, Disney’s promotional campaign has been heating up recently, with all-new character posters and TV spots (among other materials) hyping up the film’s release. While all that’s going on and fans dissect the spoiler-averse marketing items, Abrams and his hard-working crew has been working diligently behind the scenes to get The Rise of Skywalker completed ahead of its December release date.
Abrams, of course, was brought on to helm Star Wars 9 back in the fall of 2017, after original director Colin Trevorrow was let go due to creative differences. Following the change, Disney pushed the film back seven months, but things were still hectic for the team. Because the schedule was so tight, The Rise of Skywalker was being edited on-set during principal photography so Abrams could stay ahead of the curve. But now, they’re finally isn’t anything else left to be done (at least as the actual film is concerned).
During an appearance on Good Morning America (where he debuted a Star Wars 9 clip), Abrams stated he just finished his final cut of the film. For comparison’s sake, Abrams locked The Force Awakens in November 2015. Rian Johnson wrapped post-production on The Last Jedi in September 2017, which is unusual for a movie of this magnitude. Then again, The Last Jedi is the only Disney Star Wars movie to not experience production difficulties.
The Rise of Skywalker began principal photography in August 2018 and didn’t finish shooting until February 2019. That gave Abrams and company roughly 10 months to handle post-production responsibilities. On paper, that sounds like a lot of time, but making a Star Wars movie is a monumental undertaking. Like most studio tentpoles, they feature extensive visual effects work, need to allow time for the usual pickup shots and more. It’s worth mentioning The Rise of Skywalker’s running time was first reported in late October after tickets went on sale. That implies Abrams had more or less assembled the final product at that time, but still had some other things to take care of – like fine-tuning the CGI or finishing the sound mix.
Abrams may be done with the movie, but he can’t exactly rest easy right now. He’s already on the Rise of Skywalker promotional tour, which will no doubt continue in full force over these next couple of weeks. And even when the film is released, Abrams will probably be making the rounds to discuss at a length whatever twists and turns he included in the story, explaining the decisions behind some of the film’s biggest revelations. So he’ll still be keeping busy even if the picture is locked.