[WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.]
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens has barely hit theaters, but already fans look away to the future as we wait for the highly anticipated sequel, Episode VIII, directed by Rian Johnson (Looper). J.J. Abrams already praised the script for Episode VIII, so much so that he admits feelings of regret for not getting the chance to direct it.
But forget about Episode VIII when we can talk about Episode IX. Already fans are speculating on the ending for the trilogy, which will be helmed by Jurassic World director, Colin Trevorrow. What kind of story will he tell?
Well /Film has some thoughts on the ending to the trilogy. In their article they mention an older interview with Lawrence Kasdan, writer for The Force Awakens. From what Kasdan says, the writing process appears to be more fluid than we may have thought. When asked if he (Kasdan) and the other writers had planned out the entire trilogy, he said this:
“Not really. [The Force Awakens] sets up a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of people to deal with. And Rian took on that job and he’s going to change it, because he’s Rian. And I’m sure Colin will change what Rian does…. These movies will all be so different. Rian Johnson is a friend of mine — he’s going to make some weird thing. If you’ve seen Rian’s work, you know it’s not going be like anything that’s ever been in Star Wars.”
Furthermore, Lawrence Kasdan mentions the ending for the trilogy and what might happen in Episode IX:
“We talked about [the ending] — and there’s a certain thing that people who are involved with it feel should happen. There’s a kind of movement that happens. But it’s not in your control. It’s going to veer off with Rian, and it’s going to veer off another way with Colin.”
So from what Kasdan is saying, it sounds like the directors and writers for each Star Wars film are given a lot of liberty in how they approach the film, so much so that their decisions could entirely change the ending of the trilogy from the vague plans in place now. We've contributed our best predictions for Episodes VIII and IX, but we'll have to wait and see - because even the writers on these movies don't necessarily know all the answers.
The Force Awakens mostly set up the new characters, but did little to hint at specific plotlines for the future. All we really know is that Kylo Ren will return to wherever Snoke is hiding out to "complete his training," and there will be something happening with Luke, thanks to Rey showing up on his doorstep. Other than that, we can only speculate about the future of the franchise. At least we can expect new faces to join the cast, such as Benicio Del Toro. And given the history of directors like Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, we can expect great things from the remainder of this trilogy.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.