John Boyega is hinting at a time jump between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: Episode 9. The Last Jedi actually broke from tradition by picking up right after its predecessor, The Force Awakens. Prior to that, the films within each Star Wars movie trilogy were typically separated by about 1-3 years, with the exception of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones (which take place a decade apart).
A lot has changed since Episode 9 first entered development. The film was originally set to be cowritten and directed by Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), before the filmmaker stepped down over creative differences with Lucasfilm. Force Awakens helmsman J.J. Abrams has since signed on to direct Episode 9 instead, from a script that Abrams is cowriting with Argo, Batman V Superman, and Justice League screenwriter Chris Terrio. The pair are tasked with not only bringing the current trilogy to a satisfying close, but also finding a tasteful way to "retire" the Leia character after Carrie Fisher's death in 2016.
Between having to deal with all that and everything that went down in Last Jedi, it's no surprise to hear Boyega hint that Episode 9 will feature a significant jump ahead in time. Speaking about his involvement in the launch of the UK DeamLab app (a mobile phone app to help in the fight against cancer), Boyega revealed that his character Finn will be sporting much longer hair the next time audiences see him. Here's his exact quote, per Yahoo! Finance:
“I can’t wait to start shooting the next and final leg of the [Star Wars] franchise. The first step is growing out my hair, so you can wait for the trailer to see why.”
Since Leia was still alive at the end of Last Jedi, it would've been impossible for Episode 9 to pull a Last Jedi and pick up with the surviving members of the Resistance in the Millennium Falcon, right after their narrow escape on Crait. It's not clear yet how far ahead in time Episode 9 will jump from that point, but it will be enough time for Finn's hair to have grown substantially it seems. That could mean anything from a matter of months to a year or longer, depending on how Abrams and Terrio decide to play things.
Finn's longer hair should also be a reflection of how much more experienced the character is in Episode 9, compared to the scared runaway stormtrooper that audiences first met in Force Awakens. After defeating his old boss Captain Phasma and surviving yet another massive battle with the First Order, Finn will be a much more seasoned fighter and warrior by the time he returns to the big screen. Moviegoers could be in store for a dramatic transformation along the lines of what Luke Skywalker went through, between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
As for Leia, a time jump should make it easier for Abrams and Terrio to give the character a fitting sendoff. Since there are no plans to recast Leia or "replace" Fisher in the role (that we know of, anyway), Episode 9 will need to find a way to respectfully bring her story to an end offscreen, one way or another. Based on everything he's accomplished with the Star Wars franchise already, there's fair reason to be confident that Abrams will succeed in this respect too.
Source: Yahoo! Finance
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019