Some have said that J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which released on December 20, leaves much to be desired, especially considering it is the finale for the nine-film Skywalker franchise. While recently appearing on The Rough Cut podcast, The Rise of Skywalker editor Maryann Brandon opened up about the movie’s rushed production.
“We were definitely still trying to figure out a lot of stuff. It’s a struggle. It affected everything,” Brandon said of the editing process. “About a third of the way through, [Lucasfilm president] Kathy [Kennedy] was like, ‘JJ has got to spend more time in the cutting room.’ And I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Not with the schedule that we were on. Not with what he was dealing with on a daily basis…he was just exhausted at the end of the day.”
Brandon, who has worked with Abrams on Alias, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and other productions, went on to add that the crew had approximately three months less to work on The Rise of Skywalker compared to The Force Awakens, largely due to Disney’s unwavering December 20, 2019 release date. This in turn forced Brandon to edit on set.
“I suggested I cut on the set…we had two tented rooms…so I just went wherever JJ was, usually 10 feet away from the camera, wherever the camera was. And I just mobile-y cut. And in between takes, [J.J.] could sit down with me and we could go over things.”
As for the notion that The Rise of Skywalker merely appeases fans, you’ll get no argument from Brandon. “Look, sure, it’s fan service, [but] if you didn’t service the fans, it would be, ‘Oh, he didn’t go along with the history of Star Wars and what it all means,’” the editor said.
For more on The Rise of Skywalker, here’s what critics have said about the film.