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J.J. Abrams took on a herculean task when he agreed to write and direct the first new Star Wars movies in years with The Force Awakens. While the movie certainly has its detractors, it was largely viewed as a success, and it certainly was at the box office, where it became one of the highest grossing films of all time.
In addition to being the creative force behind the first film, Abrams has remained part of the new Star Wars universe as a producer, but that doesn't mean he was ready to just jump in to direct Star Wars Episode IX. Abrams admits that when Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy asked him to take on writing and directing duties, he very nearly turned the job down...
J.J. Abrams has a lot on his plate. As a writer, director, and especially a producer, he has numerous film and television projects rolling at any one time. Adding something like a Star Wars movie is certainly going to throw a wrench in those works in a big way. However, it seems that it wasn't simply the fact that Abrams had something else he thought he would be working on that caused him to hesitate.
Instead, the major reason J.J. Abrams almost turned down Star Wars Episode IX was because he was so happy with the way that Star Wars: The Force Awakens turned out. As a major Star Wars fan himself, Abrams was incredibly nervous that the first film wouldn't work, and he largely feels that the movie succeeded. He was proud of his work and proud that he got to make a Star Wars movie. He tells Fast Company that he felt trying to do it all again would be tempting fate...
Originally, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow had been tapped to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX. However, in the fall of 2017, it was announced that Trevorrow and Lucasfilm had different visions for the conclusion of the trilogy, and therefore had decided to part ways. Rumors have indicated that Lucasfilm didn't like Trevorrow's script.
This meant that Star Wars Episode IX had to go from zero, with no script, to completely finished in a little over two years. The release date of Episode IX was originally going to be the summer of 2019, but it was pushed back to December around the same time Abrams was brought on board. This was another reason that the director was hesitant about taking the job. There was so much work to be done in a finite amount of time.
Part of Abrams solution to the problem was to get help, specifically, he called Chris Terrio to ask if the Justice League writer would be interested in co-writing Episode IX with him. Terrio was quite excited to get on board, which helped J.J. Abrams in an unexpected way. According to the director...
And yet, an enormous job is exactly what J.J. Abrams agreed to undertake. Star Wars Episode IX is in post-production as we speak and we sit here on the eve of Star Wars Celebration, where we expect to finally begin to learn a few details about the story. The first trailer, which will almost certainly include the full title, will probably drop then, and we'll finally get a look at everything J.J. Abrams has been working on for the last two years.
Abrams was happy with the way he brought Star Wars back and launched this new trilogy. Now he has the equally massive, if not even bigger task, of ending the trilogy in a satisfying way. We'll see if he truly stuck the landing when Star Wars Episode IX arrives in December.