J.J. Abrams Teases The Force Awakens’ Connection to Star Wars: Episode VIII

Star Wars: Episode VIII will debut in 2017

Unlike the “Star Wars” films of yore, the new batch of movies set in a galaxy far, far away are set to be pushing into production and into theaters in the quickest succession of the franchise yet. Speaking with Wired, where he opens up about a number of topics like composer John Williams and casting the film, director J.J. Abrams spoke about the art of connecting the upcoming “The Force Awakens” to Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII.

“The script for VIII is written. I’m sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what Larry (Kasdan) and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going. We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we’ve been as transparent as possible.

“Rian has asked for a couple of things here and there that he needs for his story. He is an incredibly accomplished filmmaker and an incredibly strong writer. So the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction that he felt was best, but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well. But you’re right—that will be his movie; he’s going to do it in the way he sees fit. He’s neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process.”

Wired also debuted some new photos from The Force Awakens which you can view in the gallery below.

Very little is known about the eighth “Saga” chapter of the hugely successful sci-fi fantasy franchise other than that Johnson is attached to both write and direct and actor Benicio Del Toro is confident he’ll appear as the villain. The film will be produced by Ram Bergman and Kathleen Kennedy and will debut in theaters May 26, 2017 following both J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as the franchise’s first “anthology” film, director Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Related: The First Star Wars: The Force Awakens Commercial

Opening in theaters on December 18, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi. The film stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow.