Skip to main content

Editing a film is always a difficult process. Maryann Brandon, the editor of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, was given the impossible task of creating an edit of the film which would please all Star Wars fans. In an interview with HuffPost, Brandon gave the world some insight into early versions of the movie. She answered a burning question many fans had: What major aspects of the movie got changed?

BB-8 in Studio City, California | Image Group LA via Getty Images

What Maryann Brandon wanted to do with ‘Star Wars’

First, a little background on Brandon from AllMovie. Though she got her start editing modestly budgeted films like The Birds II: Land’s End. She later got to edit J. J. Abrams’ film Mission Impossible III. Since then, she’s worked on all of his movies.

In the interview, Brandon helped audiences understand her mindset while editing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. “There was so much information in the film and so many characters that we wanted to have an audience concentrate on. I think we felt we didn’t want to clutter the film up with things you didn’t need to know.”

What was missing from the final cut

A Palpatine cosplayer in Rome, Italy | Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

One of the “cluttered” elements of the original cut was an explanation of Emperor Palpatine’s resurrection. In the final cut, no one explains how Palpatine returned from the dead and why he decided to do so 30 years after he was killed.

Brandon said “It was kind of a delicate balance and went back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal. Some scenes changed quite a bit, the way that we wanted to present it to the audience. In the end, we ended up showing a lot less of it than we started with.”

She added there was originally “a little more information about…what was keeping [the Emperor] alive” which was cut for being “off topic.” It’s odd she would consider such information “off topic.” If anything, it would be necessary set-up for the movie.

How ‘The Last Jedi’ was a problem for Maryann Brandon

A Last Jedi event at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker reveals Emperor Palpatine fathered a child, but the mother of his child is never seen nor discussed. Brandon doesn’t have any insight into the identity of Palpatine’s lover. She said she was probably “badass,” adding “I’m guessing behind every evil emperor there’s a bigger, badder evil empress.” Palpatine’s personal life could certainly make for an interesting prequel.

According to IGN, Palpatine wasn’t the only element of Star Wars that proved difficult. “Luke died, which was a problem,” Brandon explained. She discussed writer-director Rian Johnson’s decision to kill off the character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, saying “I just think that when you’re doing a trilogy, you can’t just abandon a story. So whatever he chose to put in that film, those things that are dangling have to be dealt with.”

Brandon had to live up to huge expectations when she worked on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Some felt she rose to the challenge. Others felt she helped steer the franchise toward the dark side.

Also see: ‘Rise of Skywalker’: Why J.J. Abrams Was Terrified to Make New ‘Star Wars’