We’re less than a month away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about director J.J. Abrams’ big finale to the Skywalker saga. Abrams himself confessed he’s still not done working on the film.
With so much riding on The Rise of Skywalker, fans are hoping the movie can provide a fitting send-off for longtime fixtures of the saga as well as resolve the rivalry between Rey and Kylo Ren. Now we know exactly how much time Abrams has to end a story more than 40 years in the making.
‘Star Wars’ is a saga of epic proportions
From the beginning, Star Wars has been a space opera balancing galactic stakes with personal melodrama. Back in 1977, George Lucas created an entire universe inspired by the serials he grew up watching. And in the process, his films have impacted generations of moviegoers.
Despite the ongoing structure of the saga — told in serialized “episodes” — each individual chapter still has a lot of story to cover. So every single Star Wars film to date has been at least two hours long. In fact, the saga’s installments have gotten more ambitious over time.
Lucas’ original trilogy ran an average of 125 minutes, with the first film still the shortest entry in the saga at 121 minutes. Then, the prequel trilogy stretched things to an average of 139 minutes each. The Disney era has kept pace with that total, with The Last Jedi‘s 152-minute runtime making it the longest entry so far.
Early reports regarding J.J. Abrams’ film
As for The Rise of Skywalker, previous reports claimed the film would clock in at 155 minutes. That number would make it the longest Star Wars film ever, putting it just a few minutes ahead of The Last Jedi. Considering the three-hour runtime of Avengers: Endgame — another Disney film concluding a long-running story — fans didn’t bat an eye at the presumed length of the final movie in the Skywalker saga.
In recent years, audiences have become a lot more accepting of extended running times. In fact, in the case of epic storytelling like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings — which is perhaps partly responsible for modern moviegoers’ longer attention spans — fans might even expect it. After all, Abrams will need all the time he can muster to tie everything up in a satisfying way.
How long is ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’?
Well, now we know how long Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be when it arrives in theaters next month. Contrary to reports, the film will not be the longest installment in the saga. In fact, it’s barely longer than Abrams’ own Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the director exclusively revealed The Rise of Skywalker will feature a running time of roughly 141 minutes. This number might shift a minute or two in one direction or another. But it gives us a solid idea of what to expect when Abrams’ film is finally released.
While not nearly as long as we’d initially heard, that runtime still puts The Rise of Skywalker as the second-longest film in the Star Wars saga. Abrams already has the tricky task of ending one of the most popular stories ever told. Here’s hoping 141 minutes is enough for him to clear out his “mystery box” and give audiences everything they want out of the film.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.
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