J.J. Abrams recently wrapped up filming on Star Wars: Episode IX, but his work on the film certainly isn’t done yet.
The director is returning to finish the trilogy he started several years ago, as he was the one tapped by Lucasfilm president Kathy Kennedy to usher in a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens, the seventh installment of the Skywalker saga. The plan was for Abrams to only direct the first chapter, but while Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi was produced seamlessly, Colin Trevorrow was fired from Episode IX early on. That brought Abrams back into the fold, as he agreed to return to wrap up the sequel trilogy and the Skywalker saga.
No pressure, right?
Abrams recently was interviewed by Entertainment Today and was asked what one word he hopes fans use to describe the film. “There are a lot of words that we all hope that you feel,” he said. “And obviously the biggest, most important one I think is ‘satisfied.'”
I think he’s exactly right, too, as the thing that I’m sure Lucasfilm is hoping for is that fans will be satisfied with the final chapter of the saga. Of course, knowing Star Wars fans, that’d be an impossible dream, since there’s always at least a segment of Star Wars fans who are never satisfied with anything, but it’s a noble goal nonetheless. I really hope that we walk out of the theater feeling like Abrams and his team produced a story that gives a satisfying conclusion to so many of the themes and threads that we have followed in the sequel trilogy, so many of the characters we have grown to love, and so many years of the Skywalker stories.
“It was actually a pretty emotional thing,” Abrams said of wrapping filming, “but the cast just did an unbelievable job and I just cannot wait for you to see what we’ve got going for you.”
That was an idea that he developed repeatedly in the interview, insisting that he cannot wait for us to see the film. Of course, this was used wonderfully by Abrams to avoid revealing much of anything, but it’s nice to hear from him at least.
One of the questions some people have had (primarily those who hated The Last Jedi) is how much J.J. Abrams would change things based on the reaction, but while he didn’t really get into that either, he did explain that it hasn’t really impacted the way they approached this film. “No, I mean, I think that every movie is its own movie, and obviously this is a trilogy,” he said. “We brought to that movie all the passion and hard work that we would have no matter what. So I think the story speaks for itself. I really, truly, cannot wait for you to see it.”
And one of the many things that fans can’t wait to see about it is the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, reprising the role he last portrayed in live-action in 1983’s Return of the Jedi (though he has voiced the character repeatedly since then). Abrams also spoke about working with the veteran actor. “I had met him once before and he was such a sweet guy, but I’ve got to tell you, I have such unbelievable respect for him,” Abrams said. “We had a great time, and he was wonderful. I mean, everyone on set, he just had this aura around him. He’s really an incredible man and an incredible actor.”
All in all, there wasn’t much revealed in the interview and Abrams has mastered how to give answers without really giving answers, but it’s nice hearing from him shortly after the conclusion of filming, and I share his hope that Star Wars fans will be satisfied by the conclusion of this story.