After The Last Jedi is released in December the new Star Wars trilogy — that began with The Force Awakens in 2015 — will strangely already feel like it’s almost over. And whatever happens with Rey, Luke, Kylo Ren, Leia, Finn and the rest of the gang will have to be wrapped up in Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019. But, now, there’s news Episode IX will have an extra task beyond just being a sequel to The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. J.J. Abrams plans to go out with a Death Star-sized bang by uniting all three trilogies in one final conclusive film.
On Thursday, Reddit user 114D wrote about meeting J.J. Abrams and co-screenwriter Chris Terrio. Abrams and Terrio didn’t spill anything specific about The Last Jedi or Episode IX, but according to 114D, Abrams is poised to give audiences some “big surprises” with Episode IX. “Apparently they’ve had no interference from Kathleen or Pablo or the Lucasfilm Story Group,” 114D writes. “[Episode IX] is also the film which unites all three trilogies and brings everything together.”
For the worried, old school Star Wars fan, uniting all three trilogies means one thing: referencing the prequels. While this shouldn’t really surprise anyone, it could lend credence to rumors about Hayden Christensen returning to play the ghost of Anakin Skywalker in either The Last Jedi or Episode IX. When Abrams directed The Force Awakens, he hired Ewan McGregor to supply dialogue as the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi spoke to Rey through the Force. Meaning, there’s a least one precedent for an actor from the Star Wars prequels returning for the trilogy. (Not to mention rumors that an official announcement of an Obi-Wan solo film is coming any day now.)
Of course, J..J. Abrams never intended to finish writing the trilogy he began with The Force Awakens. Originally, Episode IX was to be directed by Colin Trevorrow and then, co-written by Jack Thorne. All that changed when Trevorrow left the film in September and Abrams was hired back on. This seems to indicate that no plan was ever in place for the general story of the new trilogy, which is hardly the fault of J.J. Abrams. Even so, because it’s now up to him and Terrio to make sense of whatever happens in the The Last Jedi, it stands to reason that pulling in ideas from the rest of the saga may actually be more of a benefit than a hindrance. Because for all the flaws of the prequel trilogy, one can barely deny the excellent world-building George Lucas pulled-off with those three films. A skill that perhaps Abrams is studying as he’s tasked with completing the most popular space opera of all time.
The Last Jedi opens on December 15, 2017. Star Wars: Episode IX opens on December 20, 2019.