Episode IXKathleen Kennedy

Around the Galaxy: J.J. Abrams to Helm Episode IX

Star Wars: Episode IX is now scheduled for December 2019 release

The Release

September 12 was a red letter day for Star Wars news. Starwars.com began the production of prose with a release:

J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm. “With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.

The Reaction

Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican wrote:

The news is likely to bring balance to the fans, who viewed the departure of Jurassic World‘s Trevorrow as a sign of upheaval in the beloved series. Rumors circulated throughout Hollywood this summer that Trevorrow would be stepping down, and that Abrams — who handed off the second film in the series, The Last Jedi, to Looper writer-director Rian Johnson, but hasn’t taken on directing duties for another movie since — was eager for another journey into the galaxy.

Wired’s Brian Raftery wrote:

Bringing someone like Abrams, who’s lived in this universe before—and, most crucially, has on-the-ground relationships with the franchise’s stars, technicians, and producers—helps Lucasfilm avert a gazillion different headaches. He’s not the daring, Han Solo-like risk-taker that fans want, but he may be the Wedge Antilles that they need: A reliable, experienced hand who can at least pull the fleet out of trouble. Here’s hoping that, once he’s helped stabilize the Star Wars universe, Lucasfilm decides to open it up to others.

To that end, SyFy Wire’s Shana O’Neil and Lucas Siegel posted a question:

…when Trevorrow’s ouster was announced, our imaginations ran wild. We thought about women and people of color, about diverging points of view and life experiences that could make a new Star Wars film just that — new. While the third episode of a trilogy that is also the ninth episode of an overarching story may not be the best, logistically speaking, time to take a risk, it does leave us thinking: When will our favorite franchise from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away get a female point of view behind the camera?

Meanwhile at Forbes…

Forbes Erik Kain posts, “5 Things J.J. Abrams Must Not Do In ‘Star Wars: Episode IX,” including:

1. No more Death Stars. Seriously. Please. The three Death Stars we’ve destroyed so far. “Star Wars” may be a misnomer at this point. I’m tempted to call the series “Death Stars.” Two of the first three movies featured Death Stars, and The Force Awakens introduced us to yet another incredibly vulnerable weapon of mass destruction with Starkiller Base. It was even more destructive than the Empire’s death orbs, but just as easily taken down in the end. This is not only bad storytelling, it’s poor strategic planning on the part of the series’ villains, equivalent to putting all of one’s death eggs in the same death basket.

This piece is Forbes-heavy, because of the penultimate stories on this reading list. The first was posted by Scott Mendelson prior to Abrams hiring, entitled “Why Colin Trevorrow Was (At The Time) A Smart Pick For Star Wars“:

If Kennedy wants to rule her Star Wars universe with an iron fist (not the lame Danny Rand kind) and micromanage her Lucasfilm projects to the point where she ends up removing, replacing or firing the initial directors in four of the current six Star Wars movies (counting whatever film Josh Trank was supposed to direct) in some form of production, that’s her prerogative. She’s the one whose reputation is on the line.

Mendelson followed that up with “J.J. Abrams Was Disney’s Safest Choice For Star Wars: Episode IX“:

So, barring a fluke, it was arguably always going to be Rian Johnson or J.J. Abrams coming back for a second go-around. Of note, Abrams will apparently co-write the film with Chris Terrio, the guy who co-wrote ArgoBatman v Superman and Justice League. I guess that means someone liked Jesse Eisenberg’s monologues as much as I did! Of note, it will be interesting to see what kind of Star Wars film J.J. Abrams can come up with presuming he is not so tied to replicating the formula and narrative templates of A New Hope (or in this case, Return of the Jedi).

Abrams, the Love Child?

Finally, The New York Times waded in on the subject. Dave Itzkoff wrote:

“The Force Awakens” sold more than $2 billion in tickets worldwide and was widely praised by critics. Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis wrote that Mr. Abrams was essentially “a love child” of Mr. Lucas and Steven Spielberg, “born to the blockbuster world they helped make.”

In the end, that’s essentially what Star Wars fans hope to be true (again)…


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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.
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