At one point, The Rise of Skywalker was rumored to be so massive, it would need to be cut into two movies ala Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. That proved to be fake news, and now we may have the actual runtime, or close to it. This final chapter in the Skywalker saga isn’t even as long as Avengers: Endgame if we’re to believe John Williams’ brother. And why wouldn’t we believe him? He seems to know what’s going on.
The Academy of Scoring Arts hosted a score study for John Williams’ classic Jurassic Park score this past week, and Don Williams, John’s brother, was on hand to discuss his sibling’s legendary career. Don is a veteran studio percussionist himself, and he was one of the performers on the original Jurassic Park score. While discussing his work on that classic sci-fi thriller, he also let the cat out of the bag in regards to what is believed to be John Williams’ final Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker.
Don Williams says that his brother has, “135 minutes worth of music to write, so that kind of tells how long the film is.” Now, that is two hours and fifteen minutes. One would guess that there are perhaps several minutes that won’t be accompanied by a score, which could indicate a longer runtime. But Don doesn’t think that is the case. He goes onto say this about who much music will be in the movie.
“It is top to bottom music. We’ve done four days and we just scratched the surface. I think we’ve got something like 34 minutes in the canon at this point.”
Now we know the movie will be at least two hours and fifteen minutes, which is not the longest Star Wars movie released at this point. The Force Awakens was exactly 135 minutes, with The Last Jedi clocking in at a monstrous two hours and thirty-three minutes, which is pretty long for a Star Wars movie, especially one not many people seem to have enjoyed.
With top to bottom music filling up the runtime, we can’t imagine the movie will run too far past the 135 minute marker. Most will not accept Don Williams’ remarks as canon, and we’ll have to wait until the final runtime is confirmed by Disney and Lucasfilm. But this gives us a good earmark for where we’re at and where we’re heading. What we can take away from this is that the movie won’t be shorter than 135 minutes unless J.J. Abrams does some serious cuts between now and the December 20th release date.
You can watch Don Williams’ comments about the runtime of The Rise of Skywalker in the video below, which comes from the Scoring Arts youtube channel.