OEmbed from Getty Images *This comes from very good sources,* Early screen tests for “Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker” were disastrous. So disastrous in fact that Lucasfilm brought back the one person who could right the ship. Star Wars creator, George Lucas.
With Disney CEO Bob Iger, in attendance director J.J. Abrams tested the final story in the Skywalker saga. The audience was made up of hard-core Star Wars fans, casual Star Wars fans as well as general movie fans who were simply only aware of Star Wars.
The audience was asked to rank/grade the film. The J.J. Abrams/ Kathleen Kennedy ‘Rise of Skywalker” cut had the lowest score 29. The audience sighted a “very lackluster” third act that hurt the film. In other words a flop.
It is said the biggest issue with that version was Rey destroyed Emperor Palpatine in “OP fashion,” causing the film viewers to bust out into laughter. That is said to have enraged Iger, who demanded reshoots.
Iger went to Abrams and specifically told him him to bring Anakin and Luke Skywalker ‘in the flesh.” Following the modifications Iger asked for the film was re-tested. The results were better not great. The audience ranked/graded Iger’s “Rise of Skywalker” 65. In other words good not great, which would have irritated and already on edge fan base.
It was right after the screening Iger made the call to bring in the one person who’s vision is being presented, George Lucas himself! This is where it get’s interesting. Lucas watched both versions. He then went to the editing room. He used both Abrams and Iger’s films and crafted them together.
George Lucas also asked for “certain reshoots.” Abrams agreed. “The Rise of Skywalker” was then tested for a third time to the same audience demographic. This time the J.J. Abrams/ Kathleen Kennedy/ Bob Iger/ George Lucas Star Wars film scored and 88.
In movies anything over 82 is considered a hit movie. There is a bit of irony in all of this. George Lucas who created one of the most successful movie franchises of all-time. Who directed some of the films, was brought in to fix the last one. Well in terms of the Skywalker portion of Star Wars anyways.