Actor Greg Grunberg, longtime friend of director J.J. Abrams, says in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter that as far as he knows, there is no alternate edit of The Rise of Skywalker despite a persistent fan rumor to the contrary. Fans who were dissatisfied with the 2019 film latched on to a theory that Abrams was pressured by Disney to make TROS more fan-friendly, and that somewhere there was a director’s cut with Abrams’ “real” version of the movie. Hence, the #ReleaseTheJJCut hashtag was born.
However, Grunberg told THR he doesn’t think such a cut exists:
“I’m being completely honest here, but not once did he ever tell me that there was any pressure on him to cut things out. Personally, I don’t think there’s any truth to that, and I would be surprised if there’s a ‘J.J. cut.’ Every movie goes through a series of cuts; it’s just the nature of it. I don’t buy into it at all.”
Grunberg also added that contrary to another rumor, he did not think Abrams intended TROS to be a rebuttal to Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which was the second in the three-film Skywalker series, and the only one that Abrams didn’t direct. “I never heard one disparaging thing from J.J. about Rian,” Grunberg told THR. “J.J. loves that guy. He loves how creative and how brilliant he is.”
There’s been a fair amount of careful dissection of the “JJ Cut” theory; earlier this year Aja Romano at Vox went to some lengths to explore each point, including Abrams’ widely misinterpreted statement to Vanity Fair that “The people who love it more than anything are also right.” Romano notes that the rumors of an Abrams alternate cut — along with the fervor around a supposed alternate cut of Justice League by original director Zack Snyder— suggest deep polarization among the films’ fan base:
The system of belief is all structured to feed an alternate narrative of the franchise that allows fans to continue to feel invested in them rather than contend with their own disillusionment. The possibility, fed by the anonymous sources, that the alternate film cuts exist fosters that narrative. And though the “alternate cut” theory may be the biggest conspiracy going right now, it’s not the only conspiracy — and the way these conspiracies interact really starts to bend reality.
Abrams and Grunberg have known each other since they were children, and he’s as good a source as any to debunk the rumors of an alternate cut of TROS. But as anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on the internet knows, fan conspiracy theories tend to keep chugging along no matter what the “facts” suggest.