Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Editor on the Big On-Set Change Abrams Made

In order to meet the deadline for a December 2019 release date, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had to improvise some of its production processes on set. Express (via ComicBook) recently interviewed editor Maryann Brandon, a long-time collaborator of director J.J. Abrams. She explained that, due to a time crunch in production, they took a rather unusual approach to editing. The soon-to-be-blockbuster needed to stay on schedule, after all.

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’.

As a result, Brandon says she spent her time on set never more than 10 feet away from Abrams. This idea of cutting the film as they shot allowed her to form a better relationship with the cast. And it even got the kinds of shots on the fly that they might need later. This cut down the number of reshoots needed at the end.

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.

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Returning cast members for The Rise of Skywalker include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast are Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings), and Keri Russell (The Americans). They’re joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In addition to directing, Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio (ArgoJustice League). Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, and Abrams will produce, with Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin executive producing. Composer John Williams will return to a galaxy far, far away with Rise of Skywalker. He has now scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga, since 1977’s A New Hope,

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuts in theaters on December 20.