J.J. Abrams Confirms Star Wars: Episode IX Script is Done
It wasn’t that long ago when we found out that J.J. Abrams would be helming the final Star Wars film in what’s known as the Skywalker saga—Star Wars: Episode IX. Heck, it wasn’t that long ago when we were marveling at how Abrams managed to shoulder the incredible weight of fan expectations when he relaunched the Skywalker saga for a new generation with The Force Awakens. Yet here we are, in the middle of February, 2018, and Abrams is already talking about the finished script for Episode IX. The film is set to begin principal photography at the end of July, with a release date slated for December, 2019.
Abrams was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night where Stephen, a well known Star Wars superfan, first teased him about his fear in taking on The Force Awakens. “The opportunity is always bigger than the fear,” Abrams said, but Colbert had a delicious little anecdote to share: Two weeks before the opening of The Force Awakens, Abrams called Colbert during a trip to New York to ask if he could to his office so he could “just drink.” They had Jameson’s.
Abrams is thrilled to have the Episode IX script in hand, which he co-wrote with Chris Terrio (Argo, Justice League), who he calls a genius. Whatever pressure Abrams was under in bringing Star Wars back after George Lucas’s three prequels, we imagine the immensity of needing to nail this last film in the aforementioned Skywalker saga is even greater.
Abrams, Terrio and the entire Episode IX team have a lot of momentum, however, after Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. That film cemented the fact that the new characters Abrams introduced in The Force Awakens are this generation’s Star Wars heroes and villains—Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and Adam Driver’s increasingly intriguing villain, Kylo Ren. Last Jedi also gave us memorable new characters (Kelly Marie Train’s Rose Tico, most notably), a deepening, darkening relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren, and, a hugely memorable turn by Luke Skywalker himself (Mark Hamill, of course) who will likely factor in Episode IX the way Obi-Wan Kenobi did in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as a ghostly mentor.
Another intriguing element that Johnson introduced in The Last Jedi that Abrams and co. will have to play with is the notion that the Force is not accessible only to a few, super elite people like the Jedi and Sith. As Luke told Rey, and as broom boy seemed to prove, the Force isn’t only all around us, but it’s open to all of us. There’s no way Episode IX won’t make use of this game changing reality, one that sort of flies in the face of what learned about the Force in the prequels, but, a welcome and possibly narratively rich idea that opens Episode IX up to a ton of possibilities.
Will Rey and Kylo Ren fight once more, this time to the death? How will we say goodbye to Carrie Fisher’s Leia? Might the Resistance figure out a way to get the regular folks scattered throughout the galaxy to tap into the Force and help defeat the First Order? These are some of the questions Abrams, Terrio and their team have been wrestling with, and, according to Abrams, have answered to their own satisfaction. Whether it’ll be to yours is the eternal question all Star Wars creators must face, and bear.
Here’s the pertinent part of the Abrams/Colbert interview:
Featured image: TOKYO, JAPAN – OCTOBER 19: J.J. Abrams attends the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “Star Trek Beyond” at TOHO Cinemas on October 19, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ken Ishii/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)