JJ Abrams says Star Wars: Episode IX will offer something new that fans have never seen before in the lore. After successfully reviving the sci-fi/fantasy franchise via 2015's smash hit Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Abrams is once again back in the director's chair for a film set in a "galaxy far, far away,", this time to wrap up the ongoing trilogy.
Admittedly, Abrams' return to the franchise has prompted something of a mixed response. While many fans were happy when he replaced original Episode IX helmer Colin Trevorrow, others were underwhelmed by what they see as an overly "safe" choice of director. The Force Awakens was both a critical and commercial success, but at the same time was taken to task for being too similar to Star Wars: A New Hope. Some fans are worried that with Abrams back directing the trilogy capper, it, too will not add anything that new to the Star Wars mythos.
It appears that Abrams is aware of people's opinion of him coming back to the franchise and has addressed fans' concerns regarding Episode IX. During an appearance on the BBC radio show (h/t SWNN) alongside prolific composer (and the man behind the score for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) Michael Giacchino, Abrams said that the threequel will push the narrative boundaries of the famed series and offer something totally new to the audience:
"Well, it’s certainly something that I’m aware of now working on Episode IX – coming back into this world after having done Episode VII. I feel like we need to approach this with the same excitement that we had when we were kids, loving what these movies were. And at the same time, we have to take them places that they haven’t gone, and that’s sort of our responsibility. It’s a strange thing – Michael’s worked on things like Planet of the Apes and Star Trek and Star Wars, and these are the things of dreams. Yet we can’t just revel in that; we have to go elsewhere."
If directing a Star Wars film is not pressuring enough, Abrams' Episode IX will follow the Rian Johnson-directed and written Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is being poised by the cast as something unexpected. Even Mark Hamill has been open about having a hard time coming to terms regarding where Luke Skywalker's narrative arc will go -- which is good, especially for a long-running franchise, as it shakes things up and keeps its audience intrigued and invested with what happens next in the film series. The question now is whether Abrams can be as bold as Johnson when it comes to his story choices or not.
However Abrams chooses to approach Star Wars: Episode IX, it is safe to say that it will be dependent on how The Last Jedi sets-up our heroes and villains for the next installment of the franchise. Many are also anticipating how the filmmaker will tackle General Organa's send-off following Carrie Fisher's untimely death late last year. Recently, Hamill briefly talked about the sensitive matter saying that he is confident that folks at Lucasfilm will be able to find a way to wrap-up Leia's story in a fitting and satisfying manner. Abrams is slated to write the story for the threequel alongside Justice League writer Chris Terrio.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018