It seemed like a sea change was taking place in the Star Wars landscape when J.J. Abrams didn’t return for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and was replaced by writer/director Rian Johnson. But then Johnson shifted over to work on a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, and Colin Trevorrow, who had been slated to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, departed for less galactic projects. And then Abrams came back to close out the trilogy he started with The Force Awakens.

After the insane success of Episode VII, Abrams could punch his own ticket in Hollywood. So why return to Star Wars? (Besides, y’know, money. Lots and lots and lots and lots of money.) Abrams explained his decision to Rolling Stone:

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 [The Force Awakens]. I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn't quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story. The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.

And so the Star Wars sequel trilogy will come full circle, back to Abrams. I’m sure the people who like to point out all the repetitions between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy will enjoy this additional one. Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled to open in theaters on December 20, 2019.

Gallery - Amazing Star Wars Concept Art:


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