In just over one month, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will finally hit theaters nationwide, the first in a new trilogy that will also spawn three spinoff movies all set within the growing Star Wars universe. The first spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the next sequel Star Wars: Episode VIII are already in production, with fans set to get a new Star Wars movie every year, until at least 2019. Director J.J. Abrams has already started making the press rounds for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, teasing in a new interview with Wired how Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be connected to Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII.
"The script for VIII is written. I'm sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what Larry (Kasdan) and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going. We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we've been as transparent as possible. Rian has asked for a couple of things here and there that he needs for his story. He is an incredibly accomplished filmmaker and an incredibly strong writer. So the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction that he felt was best but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well. But you're right-that will be his movie; he's going to do it in the way he sees fit. He's neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process."
Shortly after Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first announced back in October 2012, Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) was first tasked with writing the screenplay for this highly-anticipated film. After J.J. Abrams came aboard to direct, he then took over the screenwriting duties with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi with George Lucas. When asked about his storytelling approach to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the writer-director revealed he wanted to tell a self-contained story that shed light on the history of these characters.
"We wanted to tell a story that had its own self-contained beginning, middle, and end but at the same time, like Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, implied a history that preceded it and also hinted at a future to follow. When Star Wars first came out, it was a film that both allowed the audience to understand a new story but also to infer all sorts of exciting things that might be. In that first movie, Luke wasn't necessarily the son of Vader, he wasn't necessarily the brother of Leia, but it was all possible. The Force Awakens has this incredible advantage, not just of a passionate fan base but also of a backstory that is familiar to a lot of people. We've been able to use what came before in a very organic way, because we didn't have to reboot anything. We didn't have to come up with a backstory that would make sense; it's all there. But these new characters, which Force is very much about, find themselves in new situations-so even if you don't know anything about Star Wars, you're right there with them. If you are a fan of Star Wars, what they experience will have added meaning."
Wired has also debuted five new photos featuring the villainous Knights of Ren and J.J. Abrams on the set with Daisy Ridley and one of the new First Order Stormtroopers. After Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, the first spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, arrives on December 18, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017. Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo Movie, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller has been set for release on May 25, 2018, followed by Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by Colin Trevorrow, arriving sometime in 2019. What do you think about these new details? Check out the photos and let us know what you think.