J.J. Abrams Explains Rian Johnson’s Influence On Episode IX

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When The Last Jedi was released two years ago, writer-director Rian Johnson was bombarded with criticism for the unconventional vision he brought to the franchise.

With the arrival of The Rise of Skywalker, Johnson has experienced a series of unexpected aftershocks, including criticism from actor John Boyega, who said that the filmmakers “could have done better” on that film. J.J. Abrams has also offered some criticism for Johnson, but according to a new interview with Vanity Fair, his feelings about The Last Jedi—and its effect on The Rise of Skywalker—are more positive than negative.

“The perspective that, at least personally, I got from stepping away from it and seeing what Rian did, strangely gave us opportunities that would never have been there, because of course he made choices no one else would have made,” Abrams explained. “In a way, it felt kind of like a gift, though of course there were challenges in every direction. It was actually weirdly more helpful than not, having that other energy to the story. There was an alchemy because of the things that he did.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theatres now. Read our review here, and check out the trailer below.