With Lucasfilm‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi exploding across the global box office with the second-largest opening weekend of all-time (over $450 million globally), fans already see Episode VIII in the rear-view mirror and are looking forward to Star Wars Saga capper, Episode IX. Now MakingStarWars is reporting that during the press conference for the recent Disney/Fox merger, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated on December 14 that “J.J. Abrams is pitching the story for ‘Episode IX’ tomorrow morning.” That means that on the day of The Last Jedi‘s release, Episode IX‘s co-writer/director J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek) delivered the foundations for what will be the culmination of not just the new trilogy but ALL NINE Star Wars Saga films since 1977. Fantha Tracks also revealed that Abrams’ film will be made under the business name of Carbonado Industries (UK) Ltd., with the working title “Black Diamond.” The working title for Force Awakens was “AVCO” and “Space Bear” for Last Jedi.
So what does this pitch mean? It means that as of December 14, the Disney brass had yet to approve Abrams’ vision for the film, so despite the filmmaker’s industry clout he could still go the way of Colin Trevorrow if he and Disney/Lucasfilm don’t see eye-to-eye creatively. That seems unlikely, however, as letting another director slip through their fingers at this point would make it almost impossible to meet the film’s December 2019 release date, and having an annual Star Wars film has become crucial for Disney’s bottom line.
Creatively it means a lot as well. Without getting into spoilers, its fair to say that Force Awakens and Last Jedi have revisited plot elements of every movie in the original trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), which clears the way for Abrams to take the final film in a totally new direction. He recently told Rolling Stone, “I learned so much [on ‘Force Awakens’] and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved.”
Both John Boyega and Domhnall Gleeson previously gave us their own thoughts on J.J. Abrams coming back into the mix for the movie, which is slated to begin production in June of 2018.
“I think what’s fantastic is it feels like it’s coming back full circle,” Boyega told us. “I don’t know where Finn’s going, I don’t know where Rey is going, but definitely I feel this is the war to end all wars in this movie. I’m interested to know how he will handle that.”
“Just as a fan I’m excited for J.J. to do ‘IX’ because he did such a good job on ‘VII,'” Gleeson told us. “So I’ll look forward to seeing it or being in it, depending on whichever it is. There ya go, talk about hedging your bets!”
Abrams will direct the film and co-write the script with Chris Terrio (Justice League, Argo). Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm. Previously set for a May 24, 2019 release date, the film will now arrive on December 20, 2019.
The characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Episode IX can currently be seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, now playing in theaters globally. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper), the film continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcoming back cast members Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Domhnall Gleeson as Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke. New cast members include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro as DJ, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Rose.