Star Wars: J.J. Abrams Aims to "Do Better" Than 'Force Awakens' With 'Episode IX'

Anyone involved in making a Star Wars film is sure to feel massive amounts of pressure to do a good job, knowing how passionate the saga's fandom can be. Director J.J. Abrams faced that pressure once with The Force Awakens, tasked with creating the first sequel to Return of the Jedi in nearly 30 years. As the filmmaker heads into directing Episode IX, he promises the next film will be even better than his last installment in the saga.

"I had no intention to return," Abrams explained. "But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in [Episode VII]."

When Lucasfilm announced that Colin Trevorrow was no longer attached to Episode IX, a variety of names were thrown out by fans regarding who could take on the responsibility. Many of these names included former filmmakers in the franchise, with Abrams' experience on The Force Awakens seemingly being a big factor in his decision to accept the duty.

"I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn't quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story," Abrams explained. "The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up."

These comments echo remarks he made earlier this year about the possibilities that are now opened up with this new universe of characters.

"Well, it’s certainly something that I’m aware of now working on Episode IX – coming back into this world after having done Episode VII," the director told BBC when asked about the impact these films have on so many people. "I feel like we need to approach this with the same excitement that we had when we were kids, loving what these movies were. And at the same time, we have to take them places that they haven’t gone, and that’s sort of our responsibility."

Star Wars isn't the only saga the filmmaker has left his mark on, having also breathed new life into the Star Trek franchise.

"It’s a strange thing – [composer] Michael’s [Giacchino] worked on things like Planet of the Apes and Star Trek and Star Wars, and these are the things of dreams," Abrams admitted. "Yet we can’t just revel in that; we have to go elsewhere."

Episode IX is slated to hit theaters December 20, 2019.

[H/T Rolling Stone]