A post on Reddit surfaced that supposedly reveals that Disney twisted JJ Abrams’ arm in creative decisions for The Rise of Skywalker.
The post, titled ‘Here’s what I’ve been told from a source that worked on [The Rise Of Skywalker]’ claims that an anonymous source who worked on TROS was “upset with the final product of TROS and wanted to share their perspective on how it went down and where it went wrong.” According to the post, Disney “screwed over” JJ Abrams by changing things within the final Star Wars movie, even making changes without his knowledge. Get your tinfoil hats on; we’re analyzing the Reddit post and its credibility.
Abrams vs. Disney
If the post is to be believed, The Rise of Skywalker would have been a very different movie if Disney were not involved. Significant changes were made to the script by Disney that Abrams disapproved of.
My source knows JJ well enough to know that he’s just not the yelling type but apparently in a meeting he yelled something along the lines of “Why don’t you just put ‘directed and written by Lucasfilm’ then?” My source wasn’t present for that exchange but knows some who were.
Abrams began to realize over the course of nine months that his ideas were being thrown out or altered by people who have “no business meddling with the creatives.”
The post claims that Warner Bros were eyeing up Abrams for some DC projects. Disney believes that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the Star Wars of this generation, and “Marvel’s biggest threat is a well operational DC.” An Abrams-directed Superman movie makes Disney nervous, so they purposely messed up The Rise of Skywalker “to make JJ look bad to potential investors/shareholders.” The post goes on to claim that “Disney could ‘afford to mess up IX for the sake of the bigger picture’ when it came to protecting things unrelated to IX.”
The post describes many plot changes. The immediate red flag that arises when reading the differences is that it seeks to rectify all the main criticisms of TROS. The source makes it seem as though TROS would’ve been the perfect Star Wars film if not for Disney. The changes that Disney reportedly forced on Abrams include:
- Rey and Kylo’s kiss
- Stopping a romantic relationship between Finn and Poe Dameron
- Removing Finn using the Force
- Cutting Kelly Marie Tran/Rose’s scenes
- Removing Jedi Force ghosts including Hayden Christensen’s Anakin
- Reducing the run-time
These are arguably the main plot criticisms of TROS. It’s a bit too convenient that Disney is to blame for all of the criticism.
The source claims that Rose and Rey had a scene at the beginning of the movie. TROS received criticism for sidelining Rose Tico, who was a significant character in Rian Johnson’s episode eight. Kelly Marie Tran, the actor who played Rose, was bullied off the internet by unhappy ‘fans.’ Many believe the toxicity surrounding The Last Jedi is the reason the character’s screen-time was drastically cut. Shortly after, Rey damages BB-8 while training, “Rose made a silly joke about how Poe is going to kill her for damaging BB-8.” We already know that the two have a scene together because we’ve seen a photo of it. The source claims that Disney decided to cut Rose’s scenes. Writer Chris Terrio has contradicted this claim in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“There were a couple of scenes that we shot with Rose that I wish had made it to the final cut,” Terrio tells THR. “But it’s the nature of the process that certain scenes fall out of the film, and I very much respect the difficulty of the decisions J.J. had to make — especially given that I know for a fact that J.J. adores and respects Kelly and would have loved to keep every second he shot with her in the film.”
There is it, Terrio confirming that cutting Rose was Abrams’ idea. Terrio and Abrams wrote TROS together, so it’s fair to take his word over an anonymous source on Reddit.
The post contradicts Terrio’s words even further when it describes the scene with Kylo Ren and Han Solo. The source claims that it wasn’t Han Solo who convinced Kylo to turn to the light.
That was Leia using her own memories as well as Ben’s to create a physical manifestation of his own thoughts to nudge him towards what he needed to do. That was her own way of communicating that with him. And it wasn’t possible without her dying in the process. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her son and this flew over people’s heads with the Disney cut.
Terrio, however, explains it differently. He references Rey’s line to Kylo, “you can’t stop seeing what you did to your father.” Kylo has been reliving his father’s murder since that moment in The Force Awakens.
…after Rey’s act of mercy, the light starts to come back for him, and as soon as the light starts to come back, he can see his father as he really was in real life. They can now have a kind of intimacy that they haven’t had, really, since Ren turned to the Dark as seen in the events of Episode VIII.
It’s worth noting that these two explanations for Kylo’s vision of Han do not directly contradict. They can both be true. Leia being the one to conjure the vision of Han and drive Kylo towards the light, seems an important detail, however. Terrio describes it as Kylo having a moment from a Greek tragedy where he atones for parricide, his ultimate sin.
In that moment, Ren gets to find a kind of peace — especially now that he knows he was manipulated — just like his father said.
Terrio describes it has him breaking free of Palpatine’s manipulation. It’s possible but unlikely that Kylo breaks free of one manipulation through another, his mother’s.
There were many leaks before the release of TROS, and many turned out to be true. Another Reddit post from four months ago describes the entirety of the plot with almost pin-point accuracy. It’s interesting to note that none of the scenes described by the source appear in the leaks. The source said that the final cut Abrams “eventually and hesitantly agreed to” was in early December. If these cut scenes existed before December, why did they not appear in the leaks from four months ago?
Since #ReleaseTheJJCut started trending on Twitter, there has been a lot of discussions back and forth over the credibility of the post.
Journalist Peter Sciretta outright dismisses the claim. He refers to his career as a journalist with sources inside TROS as the reason to believe him over the anonymous Redditor.
#ReleaseTheJJCut is wrong and stupid.
You can see the JJ cut in your local multiplex now.
Note: This tweet was not written by a rando on reddit with a “source” but a journalist who has been in the biz for 17 years and has real sources on this production. https://t.co/dKqgFMNAWv
— Peter Sciretta (@PeterSciretta) January 2, 2020
It’s highly unlikely that there is truth to this Reddit post. The narrative that the studio is responsible for all the things wrong with a film is becoming increasingly popular. Only last year, #ReleaseTheSnyderCut was trending on Twitter over allegations that Warner Bros. forced changes to Justice League. While the Snyder Cut is a different conversation entirely, the post directly plays into this narrative. It seems to have sought to fuel the fire for a #ReleaseTheJJCut to trend on Twitter – and it did.
Upon a closer look at the claims, the credibility of the post falls apart somewhat. It’s a ‘too good to be true’ scenario, where it could’ve been ‘the perfect Star Wars film’ had Disney not interfered. The sources also claim directly contradict what was said by writer Chris Terrio and what was previously leaked.
Journalist Peter Sciretta also disregards the claims citing his own sources on the production of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and his established career. It’s easier to believe an established journalist over an anonymous poster on an internet forum.
Do you believe that there’s an unreleased J.J. Abrams version of The Rise of Skywalker? Let us know in the comments!