The news is coming thick and fast now as we approach the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker.

The world waits with bated breath to see if the Star Wars powers that be can rescue the franchise from their own mismanagement and give us a rousing send-off.

Rumors of reshoots and unfavourable test screenings are legion.  However it remains to be seen if that is aggrieved fandom (pre-invested in failure) or if Lucasfilm really do have a car-crash on their hands.

Until then, the PR machine will be relentless.  No matter how hard the major players all try and tow the company line, the cracks are beginning to show as everyone from the actors to the directors let details slip.  

Details that acknowledge the poorly received The Last Jedi has left them with an uphill struggle.

Today, it is once again JJ Abrams’ turn to dance on the head of a pin.  He also delivers some bad news for the shippers!

In a Vanity Fair interview Abrams started he was:

“…very much in the mindset that this has to be conclusive”

He also addressed the failure of The Last Jedi to really add any weight to many of the main characters, without saying as much, by stating that his approach was:

“…you felt like you had some more insight into all of them.”

Many of the key side characters like ex-Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and hotshot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) will get their backstories fleshed out a bit more, only at least a movie and a quarter too late:

“[Finn’s history] is part of the story of this one. And it was alluded to in Episode VII, but there’s a bit more light shed on that in this one…I would say that each of the characters get more light shed on their histories.

I’m not saying we get full, exhaustive downloads on all of their childhoods and every major step that got them to where they are. But there are a lot of questions about Finn’s past, about Poe’s past, obviously Rey and Kylo, and then some of the new characters we meet.”

As for the online shipping of Poe and Finn?  Oscar Isaac and Jon Boyega will disappoint fans of this strange subculture.

Isaac – “Personally, I kind of hoped and wished that maybe that would’ve been taken further in the other films, but I don’t have control. It seemed like a natural progression, but sadly enough it’s a time when people are too afraid, I think, of… I don’t know what… But if they would’ve been boyfriends, that would have been fun.”

Boyega – “They’ve always had a quite loving and open relationship in which it wouldn’t be too weird if it went beyond it. But at the same time, they are just platonic at the moment.”

Abrams himself also commented on it, shooting down more bluntly:

“That relationship to me is a far deeper one than a romantic one. It is a deep bond that these two have, not just because of the trial by fire in which they met, but also because of their willingness to be as intimate as they are, as afraid as they, as unsure as they are, and still be bold, and still be daring and brave.

And in the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film… I will say I’m giving away nothing about what happens in the movie. But I did just say what I just said.”

So there will be some LGBTQ representation, just not Finn and Poe.  Out of all the issues with this iteration of Star Wars, I am not sure the Diversity And Inclusion policy was the main problem!  However the noisy Alphabet people must be sated, so Abrams probably has to cover this stuff in his magic-in-space movie.

Other things will be more controversial this time around that the sexual preferences of characters, and Abrams knows this.  He has said this story will:

“…showed aspects of the Force in ways that go beyond what you’ve seen before…”

He is blunt in his assessment that this:

”…will infuriate some people and delight and thrill others.”

Finally, those test screening stories out there on the internet that we mentioned earlier? No truth whatsoever.  He says they didn’t happen, there have been no test screenings and the only screening so far has been at a “friends and family event.”

The review embargo for the film will lift on Wednesday, December 18th at 3.01am US-EST/12.01am PST.  This is just before the first public screening in Australia at midnight.

It’s getting close now!