How The Rise Of Skywalker Defeated The JJ Cut

The Rise of Skywalker tried to cut through the Star Wars noise, but evidence suggests a lengthier cut of the film that would have been truer to JJ's vision.
jj cut of the rise of skywalker

Star Wars

Episode IX.V

The Revenge of Abrams

The fans speak! The Rise of Skywalker has come and gone, leaving some diehard Star Wars fans feeling betrayed. Long ago in a galaxy far away, JJ Abrams was tasked with bringing Star Wars back to theaters and successfully released The Force Awakens. Everything was good.

But the evil Rian Johnson had other plans. He wanted to make his own Star Wars story and “circumvent expectations” by making a not-good film. He had accomplished his task of not answering any questions and not creating a flowing story by throwing away all the ideas set up by The Force Awakens and creating one of the lowest-rated films amongst fans right after the Attack of the Clones.

Help us, JJ Abrams, you’re our only hope. Once again tasked with course correcting a mess, this time left behind by Johnson, Abrams knew what to do and set out to accomplish the task. But Darth Mickey had other plans. Behind the scenes, creative control was taken away, leading to a film that was incomplete and full of all-too-apparent changes that looked “put together with scotch tape,” according to Abrams himself. There is another, longer cut that is Abrams’ true vision. It is out there.

At print, The Rise of Skywalker is on the verge of the $1 billion mark. There is no doubt the film was a financial success and will most likely surpass The Last Jedi at the box office before being removed from theaters. Critics and fans are split on the film, however, with critics giving it 56% on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences scoring it at 86%.

A drastic difference from The Last Jedi, which was generally considered bland, divisive and empty of plot. In all honesty The Last Jedi was the most useless film in the franchise. With empty plots paths and no direction. And although The Rise of Skywalker closes the franchise as best it could with the mess leftover from The Last Jedi, there were elements from the film that seemed lost in production, so to speak.

The Rise of Skywalker Conspiracy Theories

the rise of skywalker cut scenes

Lately, interviews with people close to production have been going around, and there has even been some dialogue from cast members hinting at changes to the film that they were not happy with. Dominic Monaghan being one of the more outspoken, recently stating that “there was so much stuff filmed that didn’t make it to the theatrical version…. Oh, man, there was so much stuff!”

But if you do a deep dive into reddit, there is a post from “Baron Administrator” who has a source close to the TROS production and was discussing things that they were unhappy about. Check out the more important bullet points that point to the bigger issues below:

  • Disney was one of the studios who were in that Bad Robot bidding war last year. Disney never had much interest in BR as a company but they did in JJ because they saw WB (who JJ went with in the end) as a major threat.

From a business standpoint, this makes sense. A lot of behind the scenes deals are made when a company invest over $4 billion on a intellectual property and the person responsible for rebuilding said franchise is potentially leaving for a competitor.

  • “The TROS we saw last night was not the TROS we thought we worked on”. JJ was devastated and blindsided by this. He’s been feeling down over the last 6 months because of some of the ridiculous demands Disney had that changed his movie’s story. While the scenes were shot, a lot of the changes were made in post-production and the audio was rerecorded and altered. My source said they’ve never seen anything like this happen before. He’s the director and he wasn’t in the know about what they were doing behind his back.

This leads into an issue of some elements from the final cut being rushed or seemingly not fleshed out. Things like the lack of The Knights of Ren or rumored scenes with Rose Tico and Princess Leia. Or Finn not revealing what he wanted to tell Rey. It is all there, but obviously it was cut out. You can sense it while watching it.

  • JJ’s original early November cut was 3 hours 2 minutes long. The cut JJ eventually and hesitantly agreed to in early December was 2:37 minutes long. It wasn’t the cut we saw which he wouldn’t have approved of (and which is 2:22 long). Apart from the force ghosts, there were other crucial and emotional scenes missing. The cut they released looked “chopped and taped back together with weak scotch tape” – Abrams.

This can help explain how again scenes and the flow of the story felt rushed. Important story points were missed which leads into another bullet point of the film feeling more like fan service.

  • The Kylo/Rey scene where he dies was at least 4 minutes longer with more dialogue. Ben was always supposed to die. Source also added that if he wasn’t, then that might’ve been in an earlier draft which they haven’t read. The first draft they read included Lando (the first few didn’t). The Reylo kiss and Ben’s death was not part of the reshoots. It was a part of the re-editing. Even the cut that JJ thought was coming out earlier this month had a longer version of that scene than what was shown in the theatrical cut.

Facts of this being the case can be evidenced with clips online now showing a side angle of Rey and you can see her mouth moving with (now) Ben Solo focusing on her lips and words.

And the biggest mystery which is still not talked about or confirmed was that Matt Smith was included on the Uk Disney webpage for new cast on The Rise of Skywalker but then quickly deleted.

This is only a short list of the key points taken from a very long list of concerns addressed by a person close to the production. Take this all with a grain of salt, but when looking at these points closely, they really do seem very highly plausible.

Rumor does have it, though, that we may be seeing an extended released in theatres at the end of January 2020. Not to mention the possibility of an extended cut being planned for home release, as well. Hopefully this does not become a trend in films released in the future. Overall, the film was a satisfying end to the story. It was not perfect, but it is hard to fix a story that was all over the place with too many cooks in one kitchen.

Only time will tell what becomes of a true JJ cut of The Rise of Skywalker.



Shea Almanza

Shea Almanza

Embedded at birth with everything pop culture. I will argue until I am blue in the face that The Last Jedi is a terrible movie. Been spending a lot of time behind the scenes and developing new content for The Illuminerdi.