When J.J. Abrams signed on to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many assumed that he was taking the helm for the whole trilogy, including Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX. That all changed last year when it was reported that Rian Johnson is taking over as writer and director on Star Wars: Episode VIII. But a report from earlier this year claimed that J.J. Abrams was considering coming back to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. As is the case with many Star Wars rumors, it turns out that report is untrue as well. Here's what the director had to say, when asked by Entertainment Weekly if he is taking the helm on Star Wars: Episode IX.
"No, I'm not going to direct Episode IX, as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies."
Another rumor surfaced last month that Disney and LucasFilm are eyeing Jurassic World filmmaker Colin Trevorrow to direct, but that report has never been confirmed. J.J. Abrams did reveal that both he and Star Wars: The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have mapped out story arcs for both Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX, and he will essentially be a "presence and an influence" on those stories, without crafting them himself. Here's what the director had to say about the direction Rian Johnson has taken the Star Wars: Episode VIII story.
"It's a thrill to see [Johnson] take things and elevate them beyond what we had imagined at the time."
Another vital part of the Star Wars filmmaking machine is producer and LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy. The producer reiterated that they do have the story for all three movies mapped out, while adding that Rian Johnson's script for Star Wars: Episode VIII is "100 percent him." Here's what she had to say about how far they have the story planned out in advance.
"We know where we're going, but only in the broadest sense. When Rian came in and started writing his script, he started from scratch, other than knowing what we had done in Episode VII and projecting out where it was going. He then sat down and put pen to paper, and it's 100 percent him."
Star Wars: Episode IX isn't expected to hit theaters until 2019, but there will be plenty of Star Wars stories for fans to enjoy between now and then. After Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters in December, Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One will arrive nearly one year later, in December 2016. Star Wars: Episode VIII will debut in May 2017, followed by the Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo Movie in May 2018 and Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019. If that wasn't enough, there are also a slew of new books coming from Del Rey, Marvel, and several other companies, with the first wave arriving September 4, not to mention the return of Star Wars Rebels this fall. Do you hope J.J. Abrams changes his mind and comes back to direct Star Wars: Episode IX?