J.J. Abrams oversaw the beginning of the third Star Wars Trilogy with The Force Awakens and he’s returning to direct its final chapter in 2019 with Episode IX. At this point, virtually nothing is known about the film’s plot or characters (we’re still not totally sure what’s going on in The Last Jedi and it comes out in two months!) but Abrams and screenwriter Chris Terrio (Argo, Justice League) have already started planning their approach to the end of the trilogy.
While Abrams hasn’t talked much publicly about the project since coming on board back in September to replace director Colin Trevorrow, Star Wars News Net (via ComicBookMovie) has uncovered a Reddit post from a fan who recently met Abrams and Terrio, and got the chance to discuss Episode IX a bit with the pair (he shared photographic proof). Apparently, Episode IX is going to tie together all three Star Wars trilogies, which means that we might finally see some proper references to events and characters from the prequels in the new trilogy:
“They said that they’re going to be brave and there will be big surprises. I got the impression that JJ felt like he had to refresh previous Star Wars moments for a modern audience in TFA, and now it feels like they have free reign to do what they want. Apparently they’ve had no interference from Kathleen or Pablo or the Lucasfilm Story Group. 9 is also the film which unites all three trilogies and brings everything together. That’s all they would tell me.”
“I worry a little bit that the questions I was asking were too leading. I was speaking to Chris and he was talking about the OT [Original Trilogy]. I said about how I grew up with the PT [Prequel Trilogy] and the prequels were my entry point into Star Wars. I asked about elements of the PT coming into 9 and Chris said about how 9 unites all of it. He said 9 definitely makes it feel like they’re all happening in the same universe, and there would be PT elements in 9. They could be visual or thematic – he didn’t overtly say that there would be returning planets or characters from the PT or anything.”
For as much flak as The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith get, they’re still important pieces of the Star Wars canon and it would be weird if all three films in the new trilogy ignored everything that happened in the prequels. Interestingly, Abrams is also aware of the worry that some fans have that Episode IX will just be a remake of Return of the Jedi, after The Force Awakens took a little too much inspiration from A New Hope, and has made assurances that he’s taking a different approach this time around:
“Well, it’s certainly something that I’m aware of now working on Episode IX – coming back into this world after having done Episode VII,” Abrams said. “I feel like we need to approach this with the same excitement that we had when we were kids, loving what these movies were. And at the same time, we have to take them places that they haven’t gone, and that’s sort of our responsibility.”
The next installment in the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, hits theaters on December 15, 2017.