'I think J.J. is a genius': Chewbacca shares secrets from the 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' set

Elisabetta Bianchini

One of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year is about the hit theatres and rest assured, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is delivering an epic finale to the Skywalker saga.

Director J.J. Abrams has created a massive, action-filled, emotional rollercoaster of a film. Not one moment is wasted in this movie, from start to finish.

“It’s everything I wanted it to be, a worthy conclusion,” Joonas Suotamo who plays Chewbacca told Yahoo Canada ahead of the film’s release. “I think J.J. is a genius.”

When we last left the Star Wars galaxy, in The Last Jedi, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is trying to understand how to use the Force, through the lesson of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). In this film, we really get to see that training in action with highly-anticipated lightsaber battles with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and several more dramatic combats between the Resistance and the First Order - particularly with the return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

The trailer for the film, released earlier this year, raised questions about who Rey is, something that Kylo Ren knows and could impact her journey as a Jedi. No spoilers here, but for anyone who has been theorizing what Rey’s backstory is, you’ll get the answer in The Rise of Skywalker and it makes for an interesting journey for Rey, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Chewbacca, BB-8 and Finn (John Boyega).

If you have been eagerly anticipating how Abrams would handle the unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher, General Leia Organa, she is still a critical part of The Rise of Skywalker and it’s a beautiful ending to her time with the franchise.

Fisher isn’t the only Star Wars star we lost this year. Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, died at the age of 74 back in April. He played the character from the first film in 1977 to 2015’s The Force Awakens. Suotamo was able to get some tips from Mayhew before his passing to ensure the character had a level of consistency across all films.

“Peter gave me many tips. One of them was to have the posture be upright because Chewbacca is never slouching,” Suotamo said. “Also the challenge is to match the energy level.”

But is there anything fans might get upset about? Yes, it’s likely with such a beloved franchise, similar to mixed reactions posted on social media following the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles earlier this week.

There are a lot of outstanding questions answered and it maintains Star Wars’ unique, witty dialogue, but I think it’s fair to say that it may be too jam-packed for some fans who will want more time with certain plot points and less retconning of certain elements from The Last Jedi.

It’s next to impossible to please everybody but just like Suotamo, I think The Rise of Skywalker is definitely a “worthy” finale.

Visually, the film is spectacular and the legendary John Williams score is expertly used in the film. If you’re not a massive Star Wars fan, it’s still worth watching, but it would be beneficial to take the time to catch up on any films in the Skywalker saga you may have missed before heading to the theatre.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theatres in Canada on December 19.