It might have only recently been decided that J.J. Abrams would return to the world of Star Wars by directing Episode IX, but the director already learned from his experience of developing The Force Awakens that new films in the saga will have to go "elsewhere."
"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."
One of the biggest concerns with Abrams' work on The Force Awakens was that, while he delivered on an entertaining film with new characters, the film relied too much on repeating themes and plot points too familiar to the original film.
While we're more than two years away from the film's release, acknowledging missteps with his previous film bodes well for those fans left unsatisfied with The Force Awakens.
This outlook was echoed by a fan on Reddit who claimed to have met and briefly spoken with Abrams recently.
“They said that they're going to be brave and there will be big surprises," the fan wrote of the interaction. "I got the impression that JJ felt like he had to refresh previous Star Wars moments for a modern audience in TFA, and now it feels like they have free reign to do what they want."
We'll find out exactly what's in store when Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019.