Disney and Lucasfilm called on J.J. Abrams to help spearhead their resurrection of the Star Wars universe on the big screen, and Abrams has now been tapped to wrap up the latest trilogy in the franchise. The official announcement from Disney’s official Star Wars website says Abrams will write and direct Star Wars Episode IX. He replaces Colin Trevorrow, with whom Lucasfilm parted ways last week.
“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 in a released statement.
Abrams directed The Force Awakens, which continued the Star Wars saga more than 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. The film was a hit for Disney and received high praise from critics. Of course, many elements from The Force Awakens felt very familiar to Star Wars fans, with many themes and story arcs seemingly carrying over from the original Star Wars film, A New Hope. So basically, get ready for an updated version of Return of the Jedi, right?
Well, probably not.
Abrams was tasked with doing a near-impossible feat with The Force Awakens. While crafting something that was familiar, yet new for Star Wars fans old and new, Abrams may have had no other choice than to pull some similar themes and plots from the original Star Wars film. And for the most part, Abrams succeeded in delivering an updated Star Wars film for the masses, and that is a big reason why he will be returning for another film.
But don’t expect Episode IX to be a complete rehash of Episode VI. We have yet to see what unfolds in the upcoming Episode VIII, which will be released in December. But after The Last Jedi, it seems more likely that Lucasfilm wants to establish a new trilogy, rather than capitalize on nostalgia and open itself to more criticisms of copying the previous Star Wars films.
What’s most important to Lucasfilm — and maybe to Star Wars fans — is that Abrams already knows what the studio wants and there won’t be any misunderstandings or creative clashes like there were with Trevorrow, and Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the Han Solo movie. Presumably, everyone will be on the same page and build on a previously established relationship. And for Abrams, there is surely some satisfaction in getting to finish a story he helped begin, helping Star Wars to once again become a worldwide phenomenon.