Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is a 2019 American epic space opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part "Skywalker saga". It was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams's production company Bad Robot Productions and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film's ensemble cast includes Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. It features the second posthumous film performance by Fisher, who died in 2016 and appears through the use of unused footage from The Force Awakens.The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance's final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperor, Palpatine. After the new trilogy was announced following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, it was originally reported that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson would write the script for Episode IX. In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was hired to direct and to write a script with his collaborator Derek Connolly; both ultimately retained story credit with Abrams and Chris Terrio. In September 2017, Trevorrow left the project following creative differences with producer Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams returned as director. Principal photography began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios in England and wrapped in February 2019. Post-production was completed on November 24, 2019. With an estimated budget of $275 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made.
The Rise of Skywalker had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 20, 2019. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the acting, action sequences, musical score, and visual effects, but criticized the story, pacing, and perceived departures from the plot and themes of The Last Jedi. It grossed $1.066 billion worldwide, making it the eighth-highest-grossing film of 2019 and the 35th highest-grossing film of all time, but the lowest-grossing film in the trilogy. The film received three nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards (Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Editing) as well as three at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards (also Best Special Visual Effects, Best Original Music, and Best Sound).