As he wraps up more than 40 years of Star Wars movies with The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams reveals how vital the post-production process is in making sure your movie gets it right.
You may have heard, but the Skywalker Saga is coming to an end.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the last film in the new trilogy that started with 2015's The Force Awakens -- it also concludes the two previous trilogies in the series that started with George Lucas' 1977 film.
This ending also marks a first for director J.J. Abrams -- it is the first time he has finished something he has started, in either TV or film. The director is making the press rounds for Rise of Skywalker and he recently revealed, in addition to Rise's run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes, that post-production on Episode IX recently wrapped over the weekend, on Sunday. Abrams is famous (or infamous) for being a tinkerer with story and visuals up until the last possible minute -- the filmmaker did reshoots and pick-ups for this film and others at his Bad Robot offices.
The director had last time in post with this film than he did on The Force Awakens. And he knew that going in. But to Abrams, post is just another vital step in the process to make sure you are servicing the story in the best and most effective ways possible. Because every second counts, and Abrams would rather have the work be worth an audience's time than be on time. On Good Morning America Monday, Abrams shared his feelings about the value of Skywalker's post process:
“This happened [on The Force Awakens] as well. You see something and you think that could be a little clearer, a little better and if you have the ability to fix the piece, you take advantage of that.”
"Fix it in post" is a popular in-joke amongst filmmakers, and it is universally true.
The takeaway here is that the movie isn't done until it is screening before the audience in a theater. Studio filmmaking, there are a lot of masters to serve and many plates to spin. While tinkering up until the last minute might make your producer and the studio pick their cuticles in the short-term, it's all done to benefit the movie in the long-run. Especially when it is a film as special and monumental as this one.
Long story slightly less long: It's your name under the "Directed by" credit. Make sure the movie that credit is on reflects your best work -- or, at the very least, the best you could do.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens everywhere December 20.