J.J. Abrams on How STAR WARS: EPISODE IX Responds To STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Later this week, Star Wars fans are going to be bombarded with all kinds of Star Wars news thanks to Star Wars Celebration. Fans seem pretty confident that the first trailers for Star Wars: Episode IX and The Madalorian are going to drop during the event.
While we wait for that that, director J.J. Abrams recently talked to Fast Company about Episode IX and explained what it was like for him to take on the task of directing the movie. He said he had to take “an all-in leap of faith” to accomplish what he needed to in a short period of time. He explains that he was feeling the pressure of getting the film done in time for the release date, and says:
“I’m not complaining when I say this, but it was having to make decisions based on gut. When Damon Lindelof and I created Lost, we had essentially 12 weeks to write, cast, shoot, cut, and turn in a two-hour pilot with a big cast. And that was a crazy short amount of time. The benefit of that was, we didn’t have time to overthink. There wasn’t time to get studio notes that end up sometimes taking you in lateral positions and making you adjust things—death by a thousand cuts—to a place where something doesn’t resemble what it should be, and you can’t remember why you got there or how.”
So, when he jumped into make this movie, he approached it the same way he approached the creative process of LOST. Not only that though, but they had to build this new story on top of another story that Abrams didn’t have anything to do with. He had to build on what Rian Johnson gave us with The Last Jedi. When talking about how Episode IX responds to The Last Jedi, Abrams didn’t look at it as something that needed to be fixed, instead he just stuck to the legacy of Star Wars and focused on that as he brought the story to a close.
“I had some gut instincts about where the story would have gone. But without getting in the weeds on episode eight, that was a story that Rian wrote and was telling based on seven before we met. So he was taking the thing in another direction. So we also had to respond to Episode VIII. So our movie was not just following what we had started, it was following what we had started and then had been advanced by someone else. So there was that, and, finally, it was resolving nine movies. 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.”
I liked that he was focused on the big picture things that would bring a resolution to this Skywalker saga. It wasn’t just The Last Jedi he was continuing, he was continuing a story that has been going on for decades. That’s the important thing. All of those story threads that started with George Lucas’ 1976 film A New Hope has all led to this.
I hope that Abrams managed to put together a great story that will bring an end to this saga in a way that will make fans happy.