Director J.J. Abrams has opened up a bit about the reception to The Rise of Skywalker. Abrams directed The Force Awakens, which brought the franchise back to the big screen for the first time in nearly a decade, and returned to finish what he started with the most recent entry, rounding out the sequel trilogy and, more than that, the entire Skywalker saga. The reception to Episode IX has been a bit mixed, to say the least, and Abrams has weighed in on it.
J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, who serve as co-CEOs of the Bad Robot production company, recently appeared at the 2020 Upfront Summit in Los Angeles. The two spoke a great deal about diversity, both in front of and behind the camera, but Abrams did take a moment to discuss the reception to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and, more than that, his intention with a movie like this. Here's what he had to say about it.
"The truth is that these are things that are meant to entertain people, to make them feel something and hopefully make them feel good. Obviously, it doesn't always work. It's hard when it doesn't, and when it doesn't, you have to understand it, you have to acknowledge it, you have to examine it."
Critically, Star Wars 9 holds a 52 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest-rated entry in the franchise to date. However, the audience rating is much better, current at 86 percent. That is essentially the inverse of what happened with The Last Jedi, where critics loved Rian Johnson's take on a galaxy far, far away, but viewers were much more divided.
Financially speaking, it's still been a hit for Lucasfilm, as the movie has grossed more than $1 billion at the global box office. But it does leave Disney with something of a conundrum in terms of how to approach the future of the series on the screen. Katie McGrath talked a bit about how she and J.J. Abrams made their decisions in the early days of taking on the new era of Star Wars.
"In the earliest stages, we talked about, 'If we have this moment, this privilege, what do we want to do with it?' And not from a place of being preachy or feeding people spinach, just from a place of, any time you have a privilege, you have an obligation, period. That's just how we try to live our lives... How can we find a way to have every kid who's going to go see that movie see a version of themselves, in a way that isn't often considered at scale?"
At present, Lucasfilm is focused on Disney+ shows such as The Mandalorian and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. The next Star Wars movie isn't slated until December 2022, and the studio has yet to announce what that will be. There are rumors that it will take place during the High Republic era, roughly 400 years before the original trilogy, but that has yet to be confirmed. This news comes to us via Variety.