By: Dominic Jones
With each film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy being directed by a different director, some fans have wondered how much the directors would collaborate with each other. The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy spoke with /Film about much collaboration there had already been between Abrams and Episode VIII director Rian Johnson and how that would carry forward with Episode IX director Collin Trevorrow.
Kennedy revealed that when they were working on The Force Awakens story, they didn't come up with treatments for VII and IX at the same time,
"No, because at that point we were sitting down and talking about where this might go, even as early on as with Michael Arndt. We were sort of plotting out, because obviously if you know up front that you’re building the pacing inside a trilogy structure, we needed to have some sense of where this saga was going without locking in on things and leaving room for creative development. But we had to have some sense of where we were going."
Abrams also commented on the early story process saying,
"We don’t write a treatment but there are countless times we came up with something and said “oh, this would be so great for Episode VIII!” or “Thats what we could get to in IX!” It was just that kind of forward moving story. But we knew this had to neither be a backwards moving nostalgic trip only nor a beginning of a movie without a satisfying conclusion, and that was part of the balancing act — embracing what we have inherited and using that where and whenever possible to tell a story that hasn’t been seen yet. We also knew that certain things were inevitable in our minds but that didn’t mean it would be inevitable for whoever came in next."
Kennedy revealed that Johnson was involved fairly early in the process of The Force Awakens and visited the set frequently. Abrams expanded on what it was like to work with Johnson saying,
When Rian who I admire enormously and adore, came on board, we met and talked with him about all the things we were working on and playing with, and he as a spectacular writer and director has taken those things and has written an AMAZING script that I think will be an incredible next chapter, some of which incorporating things we were thinking of and other things are things we could never of dreamed of.
There were a handful of things we talked about that were going to be helpful to him. Some were very easy to do, and some things were things that I didn’t want to do for other reasons, but I tried to be as accommodating as I could. And its so cool to see what happens next in a way that only someone as talented as Rian could do.
Kennedy had previously stated that Trevorrow would be visiting the set of Episode VIII the same way Johnson did with The Force Awakens. As for Abrams involvement in the rest of the trilogy, Kennedy says he'll serve as an executive producer and be involved in the story phase of the films.
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