While filmmaker J.J. Abrams is currently knee-deep in post-production on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, folks are already curious to see if he’ll return to the franchise once more. Rian Johnson is set to helm Star Wars: Episode VIII, which he’s been writing and will start filming early next year, but the director slot for Episode IX remains open aside from a still unconfirmed rumor that Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow is in the running.
Word surfaced in March that Disney was apparently high on the prospect of Abrams returning to direct Episode IX and close out the trilogy that he started, but in a new interview with EW, the director confirms that he will not be returning:
“No, I’m not going to direct Episode IX, as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies.”
Indeed, Kathleen Kennedy tells the outlet that while they know where the films will go, there’s still plenty of room for subsequent directors to make Star Wars their own:
“We know where we’re going, but only in the broadest sense. When Rian [Johnson] came in and started writing his script, he started from scratch, other than knowing what we had done in Episode VIII and projecting out where it was going. He then sat down and put pen to paper, and it’s 100 percent him.”
Abrams initially turned down the offer to helm The Force Awakens, citing a desire to do something original instead, and indeed after directing Star Wars and Star Trek movies back-to-back, one imagines Abrams wants to take a breather and delve into something that’s not a franchise after The Force Awakens is released.
But the opening date for Star Wars is still a few months away, and Abrams isn’t done teasing what fans can expect from the follow-up. In one of EW’s many Star Wars stories today, a brief synopsis not only reveals the bones of this new adventure, but also a highly curious connection between Princess Leia and the original trilogy:
The Empire has morphed into a junta known as The First Order, while X-Wing pilots like Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron now fly for a splinter group known as the Resistance. Princess Leia (Fisher) has come into possession of the lightsaber once possessed by her father, Darth Vader, and later lost by Luke (Hamill) when Vader separated him from his arm during that “join me” duel in The Empire Strikes Back.
Add this to Abrams’ revelation that baddie Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) modeled his mask after Darth Vader’s and has a connection to Luke and Leia’s father, and the bridges between the old films and this new trilogy start to become much more clear. Color me intrigued.
Peruse our recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens coverage below:
- New ‘Star Wars’ Images Feature Baddies, Robots, and Lots of Stormtroopers
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ TV Spot Reveals New Footage
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ IMAX Details Revealed
- J.J. Abrams Broke His Back on ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
- 100 New Images from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’