[ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH MORE RECENT INFORMATION] JJ Abrams is perhaps one of the tightest-lipped directors in Hollywood. Newcomer to the Star Wars franchise Richard E. Grant even commented on the extreme security surrounding the Star Wars: Episode IX set while filming. That’s why it was a bit surprising to hear that the enigmatic director opened up about the challenges associated with Episode IX in a recent interview.

Episode IX Security; JJ Abrams
J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan discuss the script on the set of The Force Awakens.
(Image: Lucasfilm)

JJ Abrams is unquestionably proud of the work that everyone put in to close out the Skywalker saga. On that basis he feels that the final Star Wars: Episode IX product will be “something incredibly special.” Notwithstanding, creating that something special was no easy feat. In speaking with the business magazine Fast Company, Abrams discussed the biggest challenge for the film: following The Last Jedi.

JJ Abrams Admits Following Rian Johnson Not Easy

JJ Abrams had this to say about the difficulty in writing Episode IX in the wake of what Rian Johnson had done with Episode VIII:

I had some gut instincts about where the story would have gone. But without getting in the weeds on Episode VIII, that was a story that Rian wrote and was telling based on VII before we met…. [H]e he was taking the thing in another direction. So we also had to respond to Last Jedi…. [O]ur movie was not just following what we had started, it was following what we had started and then had been advanced by someone else. So there was that….

Star Wars UK; JJ Abrams
The first image from Star Wars: Episode IX. (Image: JJ Abrams/Twitter)

Abrams would continue, discussing the greater challenges of wrapping up the entire saga:

… and, finally, it was resolving nine movies. 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 The Force Awakens, 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.”

Many within the Star Wars fandom completely soured on the franchise as a result of The Last Jedi. However, there are those of us that agree with JJ Abrams and share his confidence. I fully expect Star Wars: Episode IX to excite fans and to bring the nine-film, Skywalker saga to a satisfying conclusion.

Star Wars Celebration: Chicago

Episode IX Panel at Celebration

Star Wars Celebration in April featured an Episode IX panel. As expected, JJ Abrams revealed the title of the film and showed its first footage.  Judging by the fact that the trailer has garnered more than 28 million views, I won’t be surprised in the least if many fans threatening to boycott because of The Last Jedi have changed their tune. Between the Rise of Skywalker trailer and recent focus on the new Benioff and Weiss trilogy, it seems Rian Johnson is falling out of Star Wars focus.

Stay tuned here to That Hashtag Show for all you Star Wars news as it happens!

Source: Empire