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Speaking at the Carsey-Wolf Center in Santa Barbara, longtime J.J. Abrams editor Maryann Brandon discussed the shortened editing time available to bring The Rise of Skywalker – and the wider Skywalker saga – to a close, and the innovative methods she used to speed up the process and make the editing process a smoother, slicker beast.

“I did this thing on cutting Rise of Skywalker – and we have a very short schedule. When we did The Force Awakens we started in May and we finished shooting in October, and we were out at 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 JJ to let me cut on the set. He was like, ‘no, we never do that’. I was like, ‘just try it, so I can start turning over shots’.”

“So I was on the set the entire time, and he got so used to it that he was like, ‘you need to be less than ten feet away from me at all times’ – so if the camera would move 10 feet, I would move 10 feet. I was everywhere! Outside, in a water tank…”

“On this film I got to know the cast really well, I was literally part of the crew. It was really great for me. 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. I watched what they were shooting, I was cutting what they were shooting the day before… I had the DP right there to ask questions.”

“If I needed a shot, or if JJ decided we needed another shot, we would set up in a corner and get a green screen shot of something.”

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The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Phil Szostak
  • Publisher: Abrams
  • Hardcover: 256 pages