During a pivotal moment in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the voices of former Jedi speak to Rey (Daisy Ridley), encouraging her to defeat Palpatine and bring balance to the Force once and for all.
If you were hoping to see Rey surrounded by physical Force ghosts in that moment, the visual effects team for the film says it isn’t something they worked on.
“I think that in some ways to me, the voices are almost more powerful than the idea of actually visually seeing them,” visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett told Insider Monday during a press day while speaking about the visual effects for “The Rise of Skywalker.” “I think we talked about that at one stage.”
Instead of a group of Force ghosts, we hear quick lines from Qui-Gon Ginn (Liam Neeson), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Yoda (Frank Oz), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and more. Animated “Star Wars” fan-favorites like Ahsoka Tano (Maria Ashley Eckstein) and Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) can also be heard.
Why didn’t we see physical forms of the Jedi surrounding Rey?
mace windu obi wan kenobi
Did you want to see Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi in “TROS” as Force ghosts? Lucasfilm
“What I liked about that idea as it developed was that you feel like you’re with Rey and you’re inside her head,” said Guyett. “Of course, it’s very subjective about what may or may not feel right for that moment, but what we were trying to capture was that it was happening to her inside her head by using voices rather than physical representations of those people within that space.”
It makes for a parallel back to Rey when she first hears Jedi voices during her Force vision in 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”
According to “The Rise of Skywalker” co-screenwriter Chris Terrio, the team considered having other Force ghosts in the film’s final shots with Luke and Leia Skywalker looking at Rey on Tatooine.
“Spiritually, it’s not a crazy idea that all the Jedi would be standing with them, but it might’ve been a bit of a visual shock to see all these new characters on Tatooine who weren’t part of the story of Leia, Luke, and Rey,” Terrio told The Hollywood Reporter.
“It’s a fair question from fans because it’s a question that we debated endlessly — about what the final shot of Force ghosts would be,” he continued. “We spent hours and hours talking about this and debating it, and we decided that the moment when the Jedi have to be there for Rey, when it dramatically counts, is when she hears their voices.”
And what about the Sith Lords in the colosseum? Could we have seen specific iconic characters from the past? No.
Another moment where you may have expected to see some familiar faces may have been in the large colosseum where Rey and Palpatine face off. We see a countless number of mysterious Sith supporters shrouded in dark cloaks cheering together.
star wars 9 emperor palpatine rey the rise of skywalker
As Rey confronts Granddaddy Palpatine a horde of Sith loyalists surrounds them in an underground arena. Lucasfilm/Disney
It seemed like it could have been a good opportunity to see characters like Darth Maul, Count Dooku, or video game character Darth Revan make an appearance in the crowd.
“I think the notion is that those are Sith loyalists within that arena and that they were, in some ways, more anonymous in their part in that particular process,” explained Guyett of what we’re seeing during that moment. “But they were loyalists and I don’t remember any great desire to be overly specific about who they were in that group.”
“That scene is sort of spiritual in so many ways,” added creature effects supervisor, Neal Scanlan. “The weight of the stage, the art direction of it, all of those things. It’s almost like it’s an abstracted moment and for that reason, the devil’s not in the detail, the devil is in the emotion that you feel, the weight that you feel in that scene.”
Ultimately, having a giant Sith reunion may have detracted from the two larger characters in the scene.
“It does retain the focus on Palpatine and Rey,” said Guyett. “I think there was a certain kind of anonymous quality to those loyalists that I think [director J.J. Abrams] felt also underlined the scene. It’s an interesting idea.”
“The Rise of Skywalker” is currently in theaters.