George Lucas directed the original Star Wars and, while he was directly involved in crafting the trajectory of the original trilogy, handed over directorial duties to other filmmakers for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Lucas then returned to direct the prequel trilogy of films, ultimately having helmed four installments in the Skywalker Saga. JJ Abrams directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, winning over fans with the ways in which he honored the spirit of the original trilogy while also incorporating fresh perspectives. Star Wars: Episode IX makes Abrams the only director to helm more than one entry in the Skywalker Saga, other than Lucas, which presented him with the challenge of not only giving an organic ending to the sequel trilogy, but also to the narrative that launched more than 40 years ago.
"Our movie was not just following what we had started [with The Force Awakens], it was following what we had started and then had been advanced by someone else [with Star Wars: The Last Jedi]. So there was that, and, finally, it was resolving nine movies," Abrams shared with Fast Company. "While there are some threads of larger ideas and some big picture things that had been conceived decades ago and a lot of ideas that Lawrence Kasdan and I had when we were doing Episode VII, the lack of absolute inevitability, the lack of a complete structure for this thing, given the way it was being run, was an enormous challenge."
Despite those challenges, with production having wrapped earlier this year, the filmmaker believes he accomplished the nearly impossible task.
"However, to answer your question—truly, finally—now that I'm back, the difference is I feel like we might've done it," Abrams admitted. "Like, I actually feel like this crazy challenge that could have been a wildly uncomfortable contortion of ideas, and a kind of shoving-in of answers and Band-Aids and bridges and things that would have felt messy. Strangely, we were sort of relentless and almost unbearably disciplined about the story and forcing ourselves to question and answer some fundamental things that at the beginning, I absolutely had no clue how we would begin to address."
With Lucasfilm yet to announce the film's title or reveal any official looks, fans are desperate to get any information about the film that they can, though an Episode IX panel later this week at Star Wars Celebration will likely see the reveal of those first details.
Star Wars: Episode IX lands in theaters on December 20th.
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