- "I've read the script and I've been on set. I was on set for, like, three weeks back in September, and it is going to be magical."
- ―Billie Lourd on what Episode IX will be like
Star Wars: Episode IX is an upcoming 2019 film directed by J.J. Abrams from a script by Abrams and Chris Terrio. It will be the third and final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The film, produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, is a continuation of 2015's The Force Awakens, which Abrams also directed and co-wrote, and 2017's The Last Jedi. Lucasfilm has referred to Episode IX as the final film of the Skywalker saga.
The film stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and the long-awaited return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. The late Carrie Fisher will appear via unused footage from The Force Awakens. The film was first announced after The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Colin Trevorrow was initially announced as the director and writer of the film, but he and Lucasfilm parted ways in September 2017, with Lucasfilm citing "creative differences" over the project. Abrams and The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson were both considered leading contenders for the job from major media outlets, with Abrams being announced on September 12, 2017.
It is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.
- "Between the Star Wars films, there's a different energy between JJ Abrams and Rian [Johnson]. I’ve been really lucky with the people I’ve worked with. That’s the joy, getting to change it up."
- ―Domhnall Gleeson about working on Episode IX
Long before Lucasfilm's acquisition by Disney in 2012, Star Wars creator George Lucas mentioned that he had plans to make nine films. Producer Gary Kurtz mentioned in a 1999 interview that Lucas' plans for Episode IX included the first appearance of the Emperor, a plot point ultimately used in the original trilogy's conclusion. Lucas once estimated to film Episode IX in 2011 back in 1976 and wanted Mark Hamill to make a cameo in the film "like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope". According to Hamill in a recent interview, Lucas' outline for the sequel trilogy had Luke Skywalker surviving until Episode IX and training Leia Organa in the Force. Hamill was an advocate for this version of the story.
In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as director for Episode IX. As Abrams and Johnson had to ensure a smooth transition between Episodes VII and VIII, Johnson and Trevorrow worked closely to ensure continuity between their respective films. With cinematographer John Schwartzman, Trevorrow planned to shoot on 65 mm film, and wanted to capture some footage in actual outer space.
Various reports claimed that both J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson were involved with the story for Episode IX, though they each denied this, with Abrams saying on his part "We don't write a treatment but there are countless times we came up with something and said 'oh, this would be so great for Episode VIII!' or 'Thats what we could get to in IX!' According to The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, the Lucasfilm creative team developed a general idea early on as to how they wanted the film to end. This was echoed by Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver: "With Star Wars, I had one piece of information of where it was all going, and that's where it has been in my head for a long time, and things were building towards that." By 2016, Lucasfilm had developed a full outline, which Colin Trevorrow then turned into a screenplay. He presented the completed script to Lucasfilm in early December of that year.
Death of Carrie FisherEdit
- "The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
- ―Kathleen Kennedy on Carrie Fisher's death
Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016. In light of this, Trevorrow met with Kennedy in January 2017 to discuss possible story solutions. Kennedy said that the team had "pretty much started over," and it was reported that Jack Thorne was hired to rewrite the initial script. However, in September 2017, it was announced that Trevorrow had left the project due to creative differences, and would be replaced by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, who would also co-write the film with Chris Terrio (Disney agreed to pay a fee to Paramount Pictures so that Abrams could make the film, as he had been in breach of contract with the latter by his involvement in The Force Awakens). Abrams pitched his story to Disney head Bob Iger in December 2017, and had a script ready by February 2018. In May 2018, he told The Wall Street Journal that "I had a bunch of ideas from the beginning, back on VII, of where the story would go. I just never in my wildest dreams thought I would have a chance to execute them."
Lucasfilm dispelled rumors that it would digitally recreate Fisher in future films. Fisher's brother Todd said that he and Billie Lourd had granted Lucasfilm rights to use footage of her. Kennedy initially claimed that Fisher would not appear in the film, though Abrams later confirmed that Fisher will appear in the film via unused footage from The Force Awakens—a decision Fisher's brother Todd credited to Abrams. According to Mr. Fisher: "There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don't mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That's what's going to give everybody such a great kick. It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.” Poe Dameron actor Oscar Isaac revealed during an interview with The Daily Beast that, while Fisher's appearance in the film will be brief, the film's story deals with it quite a bit and will appropriately pay homage to Fisher in a really "beautiful way."
- "I had no intention to return. But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven."
- ―J.J. Abrams on returning to Star Wars
Principal photography began at Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018, under the working title of "trlXie" (originally "Black Diamond"). Production also took place in Wadi Rum, Jordan (the same filming location for Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) for three weeks. Some sequences were filmed with IMAX cameras.
According to Oscar Isaac, the shooting of IX allowed for more improvisation than VII or VIII; "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." Filmmaker Kevin Smith visited the set, just as he did for The Force Awakens, and described what he saw: "Biggest set I've ever seen in my life. The dude's not directing a movie, it's like he's directing a small country." The Episode IX script was under even greater security than previous films, with actors not allowed to take copies home. By December 11, 2018, Hamill had worked for "about a week" on the film, but had yet to shoot most of his scenes, which he expected to do alongside his work on the TV series Knightfall.
During a concert with the Young Musician's Foundation Debut Orchestra on February 9, 2013, composer John Williams said he was hoping to get the chance to write the musical scores for the sequel trilogy films. After composing The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Williams is slated to write the musical score for Episode IX, though he has said that it will most likely be his final Star Wars project.
The film was originally scheduled for release on May 24, 2019, but was later pushed back to December 20, giving the May 24 date to the live-action remake of Aladdin. Footage was first publicly screened at Disney's March 8 investor's conference. The film will have a panel at Celebration Chicago, featuring director/co-writer J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy.
In November 2018, Lucasfilm debuted the animated shorts Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures as an introduction to the saga for children, beginning a year-long lead-up to the film. In December 2018, Topps began a year-long campaign, dubbed "Star Wars Galactic Moments: Countdown to Episode IX," in which three cards are released each week leading up to the release of the film. The film's merchandise line will debut on October 4, 2019, known as Triple Force Friday. Aside from Episode IX, the event will also debut merchandise for the TV series The Mandalorian and the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
The film is projected by Forbes writer Scott Mendelson to open to higher box office records given that films like Wonder Woman 1984, James Bond 25, and Death on the Nile have been all pushed back to 2020. As of the current moment, Episode IX will compete at box office with Jumanji 3 and Cats. A Fandango poll ranked the film as the third most anticipated movie of 2019, behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Star Wars: Episode IX on Wikipedia