The Star Wars franchise will be embracing a time-honored tradition when J.J. Abrams returns to the director's chair for Episode IX, as the movie will feature a time jump after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The news comes from John Boyega, who confirmed the time jump while speaking to Empire Magazine. This is a change for the sequel trilogy, which has yet to see a significant lapse of time ever since the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The seventh film in the Star Wars saga picked up decades after the events of Return of the Jedi, when the Dark Side had galvanized its forces and returned to plague the Republic as a new group called the First Order. Star Wars: The Last Jedi picked up moments after the ending of the previous film, but ended with a hopeful look of the galaxy in the wake of Luke Skywalker's last stand.
Every other Star Wars movie had significant gaps between them except for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, so it's interesting to see Star Wars: Episode IX embrace that aspect for what could be the final film in the main saga. And while it might seem like everything in a franchise as intricate as Star Wars would be tightly planned, Poe Dameron actor Oscar Isaac said the production has flowed freely.
"The way they’ve been shooting it right now is looser than it’s been for the last two times," Isaac said an interview with IndieWire. "It does feel like a relief to get on set and feel like, ‘Oh, we can try things.’ It’s a testament to J.J. coming back and feeling confident. There’s less pressure for it to be right. We just want to make a good movie and have a really good time while doing it."
This experience is unlike Isaac's previous experiences on Star Wars movies.
"Often, you do feel like you’ve got to find your way to make something more alive, but this time, it’s been the opposite. There’s no need to smuggle anything in there."
And while some fans might expect Lucasfilm to "course correct" after The Last Jedi was met with some backlash — despite making over $1 billion at the box office — Isaac stressed that the course is steady for Lucasfilm.
"Luckily, since I’m not directing it, producing it, or distributing it, I don’t have to worry so much about fan expectations," Isaac said. "Also, not all fans have the same expectations ... People had very strong feelings, but there wasn’t as much of an organized way to speak out about it.
"People that run blogs and websites need content. So it’s like, ‘There’s some content!’ Five people on Twitter. Hundreds. Whatever it is. Then you make it into a story."
Star Wars: Episode IX premieres in theaters in December 2019.
[h/t Vanity Fair]