Editor (and frequent collaborator with director J.J Abrams) Maryann Brandon spoke with Express about working on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. As has been well documented at this point, J.J. Abrams came onto Episode 9 somewhat late in the game. In fact, he even needed some coaxing from Kathleen Kennedy. Unsurprisingly, this has caused a bit of a time crunch on the film. The result?
The Rise of Skywalker was edited on set.
“When we did The Force Awakens, we started in May and we finished shooting in October, and we were out [the following] Christmas. For this film, we didn’t start until August, so we weren’t done until February shooting….so we have four months less time, and it’s a very big film. So I convinced J.J. to let me cut on the set.” Brandon said.
Predictably this has a vocal group of the Star Wars “fans” saying this is clear proof that Episode 9 is doomed. While most rational people have found this little more than an interesting tidbit.
Now, it is fair to say that movies can often be “found in the editing room.” One such film was the original 1977 film. The original cut of A New Hope is somewhat infamous for being almost unwatchable and was salvaged by Lucas’s then wife Marcia Lou Griffin. However, Maryann Brandon is an academy-award nominated editor who has been in the industry for 30 years. She is not some drunk chimp with an iPad. Whatever problems may occur with Episode 9 – I doubt it’s going to be the editing. According to Brandon, the experience may have created an even more collaborative experience over all for cast and crew.
“I had the DP right there to ask questions. If I needed a shot, or if J.J. decided we needed another shot, we would set up in a corner and get a green screen shot of something. Getting to know the cast and having them be comfortable with me, it was a really great way to understand what they were going through.”
Hopefully Rise of Skywalker is getting the same Behind the Scenes treatment as The Last Jedi. It will be interesting to see how this process works with a movie of this scale.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20th and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher….and mayyyyyybe Matt Smith. I don’t think anyone, even J.J Abrams is actually sure of that at this point.