Weeks since its theatrical release, we’re still learning all about the behind-the-scenes decisions that went into making Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. We already knew the production was rushed after Colin Trevorrow’s firing, leaving director J.J. Abrams with three months less time to complete Episode IX than he had with The Force Awakens.
Now, editor Maryann Brandon has revealed fresh insights about the extensive reshoots for Rise of Skywalker. She shared some enlightening details regarding a scene between Luke Skywalker and Rey, and late additions that made an already obvious plot hole even worse.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Rise of Skywalker.
Reshoots are a common part of filmmaking, and don’t necessarily mean a film will turn out badly. But in the case of The Rise of Skywalker, it’s even further evidence of haphazard decision-making about major elements of the story. The film reversed The Last Jedi reveal about Rey being a true nobody, who didn’t come from Jedi or Sith lineage by making her Palpatine’s granddaughter. What’s more confusing is the scene Brandon says was added in reshoots, where we learn Leia and Luke knew all along about Rey’s identity, and simply didn’t tell her.
In the scene on Ahch-To, Force ghost Luke appears to Rey and tells her that Leia knew all along who she was, but that she still believed in her light. Luke hands Rey Leia’s lightsaber, urging her to confront Palpatine. But, why would Leia not tell Rey about who she really was? It makes little sense and it’s a major plot hole in an already convoluted film. As it turns out, the scene didn’t play out that way before reshoots.
In an interview with The Art of the Cut podcast, Episode IX editor Maryann Brandon revealed that the scene between Luke and Rey on Ahch-to underwent reshoots, adding in bits of dialogue that weren’t in the original script. Here’s what she said:
“We had two weeks back in London in July and we added a couple of scenes and added some dialogue that we felt we needed…. The scene on the island with Luke, when Luke sees Rey. The film kind of informed us, after it was together, what it needed to say so we went back and got that dialogue.”
It’s unclear whether all of the dialogue was altered, the whole scene added in during reshoots, or if was just a few keys words thrown in. Either way, it’s a safe bet the reshoots added the references to Palpatine to help paper over the glaring plot hole. Why would Han, Leia, and Luke help the descendant of their greatest enemy and the most formidable threat to the galaxy? It just doesn’t make any sense, despite having Luke insist that it does
In a recent interview with HuffPost, Brandon revealed how they’d gone “back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal” regarding Palpatine’s backstory. It’s likely that this exchange between Rey and Luke was added so late in the game because they realized viewers would have a lot of questions about why the OT characters kept Rey’s lineage private.
We wrote about the lessons Disney and Lucasfilm can learn moving forward and one of which was to have an ending in mind. Adding in that Leia knew about Rey in the final trilogy film doesn’t sound like it was always the intent and makes Episode IX retcon about Rey’s true identity seem that much worse.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently playing in theaters.