Star Wars: Episode IX To Begin Production This Summer

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Disney

At Japan’s D3 expo over this past weekend, Director JJ Abrams told fans production of Star Wars: Episode IX will begin this summer. Abrams is currently writing the screenplay with Chris Terrio following the firing of director Colin Trevorrow. This is an interesting set up for a couple of reasons. First, it oddly mirrors JJ’s position back in 2015, to a lesser degree granted, but Abrams once again has the burden of placating the rabid fans of the series. When Abrams directed The Force Awakens, it was all about correcting the course of the narrative after the prequels left a bad taste in many of our mouths. Now, the director will have to either double down on the daring decisions implemented by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson or retcon all of it for the naysayers.

The new trilogy also mirrors the original, as far production goes. A New Hope, which is a fine picture, was helmed by Lucas, an imaginative, visually inspired director that was sort of perfect for its serially campy aesthetic. It’s not my favorite of the first three films, but it established the world and iconography of Star Wars perfectly. The next entry, 1983’s The Empire Strikes Back, which was not nearly as well received when it initially premiered as it is now, was directed by an actual filmmaker. Lawrence Casden made the characters feel like characters. The plot took risks and felt audacious.

Enter Return Of The Jedi. In no way a bad film, but not quite as good as the first two entries. It was a fitting end to a pretty good trilogy that steered decidedly closer to convention in comparison of the middle chapter.  

I predict a similar trajectory for Episode IV. I think it will be a fine picture, albeit plagued by classic Abrams pandering. Thankfully, Kathleen Kennedy runs a tight ship so we won’t anything nearing the depths of Into Darkness.

It stands to reason that Disney is a little shaken by the fan backlash towards Last Jedi. The box office numbers are just fine, but the long-term has to be considered. Fans are nervous about Ron Howard’s upcoming Solo, and uneasy about the direction of the main trilogy. Only time will tell what kind of legs the franchise has going forward.

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