'Rise of Skywalker' editor says rushed schedule 'affected everything' and defends 'fan service'

Tom BeasleyContributor
Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and Anthony Daniels is C-3PO in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and Anthony Daniels is C-3PO in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

One of the editors who worked on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has said the condensed production schedule was a “struggle” which had a wide-ranging impact on the movie.

The conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, directed by J.J. Abrams, has received mixed reviews from critics since it debuted in cinemas just before Christmas.

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Editor Maryann Brandon appeared on podcast The Rough Cut (reported via The Playlist) and revealed that she was editing the film in a tent on set, 10 feet away from where Abrams was shooting.

Read more: Writer denies Star Wars finale was a rejection of The Last Jedi

Brandon said the team were left with three fewer months to work than they had on The Force Awakens, which was a “struggle” that “affected everything”.

She added: “About a third of the way through, [Kathleen 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.”

J.J. Abrams attends the European film premiere of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' on 18 December 2019. (Credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
J.J. Abrams attends the European film premiere of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' on 18 December 2019. (Credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Brandon said she suggested cutting in tented rooms on the set, following Abrams around and discussing edits with him between takes.

She added that this unconventional method of working proved to be “amazing” and that she would like to cut this way in the future.

Read more: Rian Johnson says it’s a mistake not to “challenge” Star Wars fans

Brandon also responded to claims that the movie’s big revelations and story beats provided an excess of “fan service” and said concluding the Star Wars franchise was always a “no-win” situation.

She said: “Look, sure, it’s fan service and 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.’”

Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX

Despite its mixed critical reception and a below-par opening weekend, The Rise of Skywalker looks set to be a financial success after scoring the second biggest Christmas Day box office figure of all time.

The film has already exceeded $800m (£612m) globally and is flying at lightspeed towards the billion-dollar landmark.

Read more: What’s next for the Star Wars universe?

Disney CEO Bob Iger has said the Star Wars franchise will embark upon a hiatus following The Rise of Skywalker while the company decides which direction they want to take.

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