J.J. Abrams was forced out of his comfort zone while shooting Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Editor Maryann Brandon says they had less time to work on this installment when compared to the previous two, so some timesaving tactics had to be utilized while production was underway. Lucasfilm parted ways with Colin Trevorrow in September 2017 after he worked for two years on the final installment of the Skywalker saga because he was reportedly the wrong fit behind the camera. This led to a pretty significant delay when Abrams stepped on board.
With Colin Trevorrow gone, Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams had to scramble to get The Rise of Skywalker off of the ground and had to change the release date. Even with the release date delay, they were still up against the clock to get the movie ready for theaters. Maryann Brandon had to convince Abrams to let her edit while they were still shooting. She explains.
"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. He was like, 'No, we never do that.'"
When all was said and done, shooting and editing ended up working out really well together for Maryann Brandon. Even directors like J.J. Abrams need to try new things every once in a while and making The Rise of Skywalker was the production to do it. It more than likely saved a lot of time and stress. Brandon had this to say about the process.
"I had the (director of photography) 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."
Taking care of edits on the set is a good way to get a feel of what will be needed down the line. If everything is done on the set, there are less things needing to be reshot later on. There were no reshoots on Rise of the Skywalker since everything was taken care of right there on the spot. This also meant that the ending of the upcoming movie changed while shooting was underway too, which Daisy Ridley spoke of.
The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th. So far, we have only seen the first trailer and some excellent images from the set, thanks to the Vanity Fair cover shoot. Now, Star Wars fans are looking forward to some possible new footage dropping this summer at San Diego Comic-Con and the D23 Expo. The interview with Maryann Brandon was originally conducted by Express.