J. J. Abrams: Episode IX Will “Go Elsewhere” With Franchise; Prequels Will Be Referenced
J. J. Abrams managed to revive the Star Wars franchise in a big way, and he’s looking to close the story arc he started with the end of the Sequel Trilogy. One of the prevailing criticisms of The Force Awakens is that it’s supposedly a remake of A New Hope (even though it’s more accurate to describe it as a spiritual revision of the entire Original Trilogy coupled with several original story arcs for the new and returning characters), so there’s been a bit of anxiety from his detractors that Episode IX will be too predictable. However, J. J. Abrams is making one thing clear from the outset as he works on the script – Episode IX will be a new, original story.
Abrams was recently interviewed by BBC alongside Michael Giacchino on a recent segment of their radio program. In said interview, Abrams voluntarily brought up how his approach for Episode IX is going to be different compared to his approach with The Force Awakens (starting at 2:22:25, ending at 2:23:32):
British Broadcasting Corporation: …Both of these series that you’re involved with – Star Trek and Star Wars – they change people’s lives, don’t they? Little boys, little girls end up saying “That’s what I want to do. That’s where I wanna be.”
Jeffery Jacob Abrams: 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. 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. It’s a strange thing – Michael’s worked on things like Planet of the Apes and Star Trek and Star Wars, and these are the things of dreams. Yet we can’t just revel in that; we have to go elsewhere.
So it seems like the absolute first thing that J. J. wants to establish is that no, you shouldn’t expect Episode IX to be a mishmash of content from Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi under a shiny new coat of paint. The decision to make The Force Awakens draw upon earlier movies was largely done in a way to re-familiarize movie-going audiences with what they liked about the Star Wars series after the franchise hadn’t had a new movie in a decade. So by Episode IX, audiences are used to seeing Star Wars on the big screen again – and that means taking up the tough task of coming up with a story that will wrap everything up.
But that’s not all. A recent Reddit thread was just started by someone who just met with Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio, with photographic proof:
The poster specifically went on to claim that they got to speak with Abrams and Terrio, and while they obviously couldn’t spoil anything, one thing of interest seems to be that the Prequel Trilogy will definitely be alluded to:
“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. I said about how I grew up with the PT 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.”
Interestingly, this insistence that this movie is going to serve as both the conclusion of the Sequel Trilogy and the conclusion of the trilogy of trilogies lines up with the kind of vision that Colin Trevorrow wanted to bring to Episode IX:
“By the time we get to Episode IX, I look at that movie as one movie, as three movies, as six movies, and as nine movies. It’s something that needs to honor a story that has been told over a period of 40 years… I don’t want to ignore any of it, and I respect all of it. It’s something I think the fanbase is going to embrace.”
So it could be possible that Episode IX connecting everything together was always on the cards, or it might be that Abrams and Terrio are reworking elements of Trevorrow’s take into their version of the movie. In any case, it sounds like Star Wars Episode IX will be well up for the challenge that following up The Last Jedi is going to present.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.