Director J.J. Abrams revealed that filming for Star Wars 9 will begin this summer in a message delivered to Japan's D23 Expo over the weekend. This information falls in line with what had previously been estimated, but it's nice to get confirmation straight from the man himself. Ron Howard also prepared a message at the Expo and then treated fans to an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette for Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will be released at about the time that production begins on Star Wars 9.
In addition to letting Star Wars fans know that Star Wars 9 will begin filming this summer, J.J. Abrams also revealed that he is currently in the middle of writing the screenplay with Chris Terrio. Abrams was announced as the new director of Star Wars 9 when Colin Trevorrow was let go from the project for the good ol' creative differences. Abrams directed 2015's The Force Awakens, which was criticized for being too similar to A New Hope, so it will be interesting to see how the director decides to take the story.
The Last Jedi leaves a whole world of possibilities for character growth between Rey and Kylo Ren. It's assumed that we will see Kylo Ren go further to the Dark Side after his actions in Rian Johnson's story and on the opposite side, we may see Rey become an even more powerful Jedi since she now has the sacred Jedi texts that she rescued from Ahch-To. Other than that, there's not a whole lot out there and knowing Lucasfilm, we won't know about it until the movie hit s theaters in December of 2019.
One aspect that Star Wars fans are clamoring for is a backstory about Supreme Leader Snoke and the rise of the First Order after the decline of the Empire. The Resistance has some rebuilding to do, so it might the perfect time to flashback to the origins of the First Order and Snoke, especially since J.J. Abrams introduced those storylines in The Force Awakens. Basically, between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, there's a lot of loose strings that should be tied together in order to give fans some kind of satisfying closure to the latest trilogy.
Star Wars 9 will be released on December 20th, 2019, 4 years after The Force Awakens opened in theaters. The initial release date was scheduled for May of 2019, but it was pushed back when J.J. Abrams stepped on board to replace Colin Trevorrow. While we're still far away from knowing anything official about the story, Abrams has confirmed that filming for Star Wars 9 will begin this summer, which means we'll have set photos to look forward to along with casting. Hopefully we see the return of Mark Hamill as a Force Ghost version of Luke Skywalker alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan. We'll just have to wait and see. The original report of the summer production start for Star Wars 9 came from Buzzfeed Up.