It appears the ending to the nine-film Star Wars saga focusing on the Skywalker family was in a minor state of flux while production was underway on Star Wars 9. This isn’t an entirely new notion—plenty of films go through changes throughout filming, and especially when the writer is also the director (as is the case with J.J. Abrams on Star Wars 9), it’s fairly easy to make adjustments as the story on the page comes to life. After all, a script isn’t a movie, and once those words and story beats start to materialize onscreen, sometimes what works better on the page doesn’t translate as well. Add in the pressure of using Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as the conclusive ending to the Skywalker story arc that began with Episode I, and it’s no surprise that the final beat was being tweaked on set.
This according to actress Daisy Ridley, who revealed at Star Wars Celebration (via /Film) that there was a “slightly different beat” added to the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ending during filming:
“J.J. had told me [the ending], and then I read the script, and then it was sort of shifting. The ending was always pretty similar, and then I was told there was sort of a new—I guess a slightly different beat added that I was told, which was awesome. Because it’s nice to be told the thing and then you can like experience it with the filmmaker. But also, we don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. We did the thing on this side of the camera, so we don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. So I’m as excited to see it as everyone else.”
What’s even more interesting here is that Ridley also knew an entirely different ending, the one that Colin Trevorrow crafted when he was initially onboard to co-write and direct Star Wars 9. After he left the project and Abrams came onboard, the Force Awakens filmmaker started the script over from scratch with co-writer Chris Terrio (Argo) while also consulting George Lucas on bringing this massive saga to an end.
Of course, The Rise of Skywalker is currently in the midst of post-production and it’d be surprising if there wasn’t additional photography (as is standard nowadays on films of this scale), so it’s possible the film’s ending changes even further.
As we’ve learned from shows like Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, one doesn’t have to have a definitive ending in place from the very beginning, and being open to alternatives beyond the first conclusion bandied about is vital to crafting the best ending possible. So I wouldn’t take this revelation to mean that Abrams and Co. didn’t know how to end the movie. It’s just further evidence that they really want to get it right.
Here’s hoping some light will be shed on all the possibilities considered for ending the Skywalker saga after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters this December, because I love me some alternative movie history. Watch Ridley talk about the ending below.
Daisy Ridley tells me about how SHE learned about the ending of THE RISE OF SKYWALKER! pic.twitter.com/xYijqmKusL
— Jake Hamilton (@JakesTakes) April 14, 2019