STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Press Junket!
Nothing can prepare you for the end. See Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters December 20!
Thank you, Disney and LucasFilm for inviting me to the Press Junket of STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. The talent that was up on that stage was none other than, spectacular and legendary. From J.J. Abrams (Writer / Director), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Keri Russell (Zorii Bliss), Kelly Marie Tran, (Rose Tico), Naomi Ackie (Jannah), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Richard E. Grant (Allegiant General Pryde), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Chris Terrio (Writer).
After nine films over the last four decades, we have come to STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is the last installment of the Star Wars Saga that began in 1977 with George Lucas’ Star Wars, now better known as A New Hope.
The newest addition to the STAR WARS family is Keri Russell, Russell plays Zorii who’s the badass. “Zorii is the best version of every person I want to be. She can take care of herself. She’s a survivor,” says Russell at the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Press Junket. “Her costume tells you a little bit about her too because she doesn’t want to reveal anything about herself. She lives in an occupied territory, where everything is sort of the underworld, and to have freedom in the underworld, you don’t want anyone to know your identity.”
“Zorii is really sexy and cool in her own way, but it’s not the typical female way. Like, listen, I’m wearing heavy lipstick right now, too, but it’s not the normal tropes we see from her. Other things are appealing to her: her strength and resourcefulness.”
“To be hidden to and to see everyone, but no one can see me is my other dream because I’m sort of an introvert. It’s my fantasy,” Russell says. “You can’t see a single part of her. It’s so alluring. When JJ pitched me what it was going to be, I was like, Fuck yes, I want to do that.”
I don’t know about you but when I think of STAR WARS, I think of Carrie Fisher, she will always and forever be our princess. STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER was always planned to be Leia's movie, a prospect that the late Carrie Fisher was excited for. However, following her death, Abrams utilized unused footage from the previous two films to complete the story. SPOILER AHEAD: she's been training Rey in The Force since Luke's death, get ready it’s a wild ride.
Abrams spoke on approaching STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER: “Because we had worked on Force Awakens, Larry Kasdan and I and Michelle Rejwan and the producers, we had talked about quite a few things, back in the day. So it was a bit of picking up where we had left off and the fact is what Rian Johnson had done in Last Jedi had set up some things that were sort of wonderful for the story, one of the things being that the cast was separated, the characters weren’t together for the entire movie, essentially. So this was the first time the group got to be together. Chris and I got together and we knew immediately we wanted to tell a story of a group adventure. There were some very specific things that we were both drawn to immediately, and we just started doing that thing that you do, which is you say what do you desperately want to see? What feels right?”
Isaac on how Poe has changed: “He’s kind of always been a bit of wild card energy in figuring out where he fits in the story and what story is being told, and I think with this one…I remember JJ being excited about kind of dirtying up the squeaky flyboy image that he’s had for a bit and just revealing a bit more of his personality. And I think that really comes out because I’ve been taken away from my little box in space and I get to join my friends this time, and you really get to see the interaction with the three and the hope that he, in particular, brings to this one–there’s a kind of relentless, almost aggressive optimism that he has–and how that is tested and how he tries to be there for his friends, tries to push them along even when it seems quite hopeless.”
Ridley touched upon physical acting demands: “With the physical stuff, you train and train and train and then the adrenaline helps you on the day to, like, do the thing (but obviously the stamina needs to be there for you to continue to do the thing.) But I would say I was more tired emotionally because there really wasn’t a day where I was like ‘no it’s just a quick scene.’ Coming from the last one which was quite heavy, even the joyous scenes I found quite strange to do, and obviously, there’s a lot of other stuff that’s going on.
Abrams wrapped it up perfectly: “The truth is that there’s the movie that you’re presenting to the world, and then there’s the thing that you’re doing, not necessarily secretly, but meaningfully. We live in a crazy world. We live in a crazy time. And Star Wars, for me, was about hope. And it was about community, it was about the underdog. And it was about bringing people together and seeing all oddballs represented and the most unlikely friends in the most unlikely places. And the family you make is really your family. And so, to tell a story that is, of course, a giant spectacle with as you say, the blockbuster wrapping…but the thing that mattered to me most, more than all the spectacular, unbelievable, I would argue the best work ILM has ever done, all the departments going beyond expectations…
This Christmas the Saga will end but the story will live forever.