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. Produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams' production company Bad Robot Productions, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 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". The film's ensemble cast includes Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance's final stand against Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are aided by the return of the deceased Galactic Emperor, Palpatine. Following initial reports 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 retain story credit with Abrams and Chris Terrio. In September 2017, Trevorrow left the project following creative differences with producer Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams, having directed The Force Awakens, returned as director. John Williams, composer for the previous episodic films, returned to compose the score for the last time for the franchise. Principal photography began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios in England and wrapped in February 2019, with post-production completed in November 2019. With an estimated budget of $275 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. The film premiered in Los Angeles on December 16, 2019, and was released in the United States on December 20. Unlike The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, which received positive reviews, The Rise of Skywalker received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the acting, action sequences, musical score, and visual effects, but criticized the story, pacing, and its perceived departures from the plot and themes of The Last Jedi. It grossed over $1.074 billion worldwide, becoming the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2019, and, although it was the lowest-grossing installment of the sequel trilogy, turned an estimated net profit of $300 million. 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 Original Music, Best Special Visual Effects, and Best Sound).