Abrams Talks “Star Wars Episode IX” Challenge

Abrams Discusses Wrapping Star Wars

We’ll get our first look at J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars Episode IX” later this week when the trailer goes online during Abrams’ visit to the stage at the Star Wars Celebration convention.

Abrams of course is returning to the film series following his helming of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. That film was a massive success commercially, critically it also faired well though was subject to criticisms of simply being a loose remake of ‘A New Hope’.

Ahead of his stage appearance, the filmmaker spoke with Fast Company (via SlashFilm) about returning to the franchise, the time constraints he was under, the pressure of wrapping up nine films worth of story arcs, and why he brought on Chris Terrio to be his co-writer:

“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.

Because this was such a mega job, I knew at the very least I needed a co-writer to work on this thing, but I didn’t know who that co-writer would be. There was nothing. So the first thing I did was reach out to a writer who I’ve admired for years, Chris Terrio. who I didn’t really know, to say, ‘Listen, would you want to write Star Wars with me?’ And he screamed.

What I realized in that moment was, I hadn’t been aware until then that I needed to work with someone who would scream at the prospect of working on Star Wars. Because I had been through the process, and I was looking at brass tacks: This is what it’s going to take, this is the reality of it. And he was looking at it sort of childlike: Oh my God, I can’t believe we get to play in this world, which I needed to be reminded of. I needed that point of view, because that’s not where I was. Of course, I was excited about what we could do, but I was acutely aware of how little time we had to do a fairly enormous job.”

The director has only high praise for the work that was done and he thinks they’ve managed to pull off what they set out to do:

“The difference is I feel like we might’ve done it. Like, I actually feel like this crazy challenge that could have been a wildly uncomfortable contortion of ideas, and a kind of shoving-in of answers and Band-Aids and bridges and things that would have felt messy. Strangely, we were sort of relentless and almost unbearably disciplined about the story and forcing ourselves to question and answer some fundamental things that at the beginning, I absolutely had no clue how we would begin to address. I feel like we’ve gotten to a place – without jinxing anything or sounding more confident than I deserve to be – I feel like we’re in a place where we might have something incredibly special. So I feel relief being home, and I feel gratitude that I got to do it. And more than anything, I’m excited about what I think we might have.”

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan, Matt Smith and Keri Russell all star while veterans Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams and the late Carrie Fisher all return.

“Star Wars: Episode IX” opens December 20th.