Magazine article Variety

Cutting to the 'Star Wars' Chase

Magazine article Variety

Cutting to the 'Star Wars' Chase

Article excerpt

FEW fandoms are as passionate as those who love "Star Wars" - a franchise that spans multiple media, including movies, books and theme parks. Editor Maryann Brandon, an Oscar nominee for her work on "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens," returned to the galaxy once more for "Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker." This time, she worked with co-editor Stefan Grube.

The movie presented a complex task for the team in balancing what audiences already know about the characters with what still needed explained.

"For instance, there's the idea that [the characters are] always being chased by somebody," says Brandon. "They know that. We all know that. You don't have to say, 'Let's get out of here. So-and-so is after us.'"

Additionally, there's also the danger of keeping unnecessary bits since audiences know the characters well. "Sometimes you can kill a scene if you put in too much," she notes. "Even in a battle scene, if you take a few shots out even though you love those shots and they're brilliant, sometimes things just get clearer."

Paring scenes down to the minimum clarifies the storytelling while increasing the emotional impact. Brandon sometimes re-watches her scenes with an eye on whether all the characters' feelings are represented since their reactions can be integral to the tale.

"Your audience is going to feel [something] and they need to know that the character felt it," Brandon says.

Oftentimes in the early stages, Brandon will cut scenes together with a focus on the visuals. …

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