Tuesday, April 9, 2019

JJ Abrams Discusses Returning To 'Star Wars' For 'Episode IX'

By: Dominic Jones

We're just days away from our first real look at Star Wars Episode IX, when director JJ Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy (and special guests) take the stage on Friday at 11am CT at Star Wars Celebration Chicago to preview the movie for fans. In the lead up to this, Abrams spoke with Fast Company in a wide ranging interview covering the future of his production company Bad Robot and, of course, what made he come back to Star Wars for Episode IX.

Abrams, who co-wrote and directed The Force Awakens, was originally not supposed to be the director of the final installment in the sequel trilogy.  That honour was bestowed upon Jurrasic World director Colin Trevorrow.  However, Trevorrow was let go from the project in Fall 2017 and Abrams was brought on board shortly thereafter. Abrams spoke about this transition with Fast Company, saying,

"I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t the guy, ya’ know? I was working on some other things, and I had something else that I was assuming would be the next project, if we’d be so lucky. And then Kathy Kennedy called and said, “Would you really, seriously, consider coming aboard?” And once that started, it all happened pretty quickly. The whole thing was a crazy leap of faith."

He also spoke about how he approached writing the film (with co-screenwriter Chris Terio), given that it was a sequel to not just his own film (The Force Awakens), but to Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, as well as the previous six Star Wars films.  He explained,

"I had some gut instincts about where the story would have gone. But without getting in the weeds on episode eight, that was a story that Rian wrote and was telling based on seven before we met. So he was taking the thing in another direction. So we also had to respond to Episode VIII. So our movie was not just following what we had started, it was following what we had started and then had been advanced by someone else. So there was that, and, finally, it was resolving nine movies. While there are some threads of larger ideas and some big picture things that had been conceived decades ago and a lot of ideas that Lawrence Kasdan and I had when we were doing Episode VII, the lack of absolute inevitability, the lack of a complete structure for this thing, given the way it was being run was an enormous challenge."

As for how he thinks fans will react to Episode IX, Abrams is feeling positive about what they've done so far, telling Fast Company,

"I feel like we’ve gotten to a place—without jinxing anything or sounding more confident than I deserve to be—I feel like we’re in a place where we might have something incredibly special. So I feel relief being home, and I feel gratitude that I got to do it. And more than anything, I’m excited about what I think we might have."

As mentioned above, fans will get their first look at Episode IX (and probably learn the title) later this week at Star Wars Celebration.  The Episode IX panel will take place on Friday at 11am CT on the Celebration Stage. It will also be live streamed on StarWars.com  Who knows what exactly Abrams and co. will have in store for fans then.  Fortunately we don't have to wait very long.

Star Wars Episode IX hit theaters on December 20th, 2019.  The film is directed by JJ Abrams, with a script by Abrams and Chris Terio, and stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie Fisher.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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