‘Star Wars: Episode IX’: J.J. Abrams on Billy Dee Williams & Wanting Fans to Feel Satisfied

     February 22, 2019


J.J. Abrams just wrapped production on Star Wars: Episode IX, which means he now officially been thrown into the Hunger Games of press for the next ten months — everyone, everywhere is going to be coming at him with all they got, and knowing Lucasfilm’s secrecy (not to mention Abrams’ famed “mystery box” mentality) he’s not going to give an inch. Which is to say, get ready for a lot of quotes that manage to tell you nothing while somehow managing to get you hyped for the upcoming trilogy sign off.

Speaking of which, the good folks at ET Online snagged a few minutes with Abrams at a recent charity event and took the opportunity to lob a few Episode IX questions at him. While Abrams declined to offer any hints about when we might finally get a title for the Last Jedi followup, he spoke super briefly about the “emotional: experience of wrapping the film, shared his enthusiasm for the film (“the cast and crew did an unbelievable job. I can’t wait for you to see what we’ve got going,” etc, etc) and reiterated that the divided fan reaction to Rian Johnson‘s film didn’t have an impact on how he approached the sequel.


Image via Lucasfilm

“No, I think that every movie is its own movie,” Abrams said. “Obviously, this is a trilogy, but we brought to that movie all the passion and hard work that we would have no matter what. I think the story speaks for itself.”

The filmmaker also spoke briefly about directing Billy Dee Williams‘ long-awaited return to the franchise as Lando Calrissian. “I’d met him once before and he was such a sweet guy. but I’ve got to tell you, I have such unbelievable respect for him,” Abrams said. “We had a great time and he was wonderful. Everyone on set — he just had this aura around him, he’s really an incredible man and an incredible actor.”

Finally, Abrams dropped a sentence that’s no doubt going to get some fan debates going. How does he want people to feel at the end of this trilogy? “There are a lot of words that we all hope that you feel,” Abrams said, “and obviously the biggest one is ‘satisfied’.” We’ll see if Abrams and Co. pulled that off when Episode IX arrives in theaters on December 20, 2019. For now, you can watch the interview in the video below.

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