Star Wars: Episode IX is an upcoming 2019 film set to be directed by J.J. Abrams from a script by Abrams and Chris Terrio. It will be the third and final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The film, produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, is expected to see the return of many of the characters featured 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which Abrams also directed and co-wrote, and 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The film was first announced after The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Colin Trevorrow was initially announced as the director and writer of the film, but he and Lucasfilm parted ways in September 2017, with Lucasfilm citing "creative differences" over the project. Abrams and The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson were both considered leading contenders for the job from major media outlets, with Abrams being announced on September 12, 2017.
Unofficial reports claimed in November 2012 that Lawrence Kasdan—who originally wrote the screenplays for both Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi—and Simon Kinberg would divide writing responsibilities for Star Wars: Episodes VIII and IX, and both would co-produce all three films of the upcoming sequel trilogy, alongside Kathleen Kennedy. However, in February 2013, Disney confirmed that Kasdan and Kinberg were working on standalone films, not main episodes. It was also believed that Rian Johnson—who had signed on to direct Episode VIII—would write the treatment for Episode IX, though this was later denied by Johnson. In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as director for Episode IX. Johnson and Trevorrow worked closely to ensure continuity between their respective films. Trevorrow planned to shoot on 65 mm film, and wanted to capture some footage in actual outer space. According to Kasdan, the Lucasfilm creative team developed a general idea early on as to how they wanted the film to end.
Death of Carrie Fisher
- "The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
- ―The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson on Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher passed away on December 27, 2016. In light of this, Trevorrow met with Kennedy in January 2017 to discuss possible story solutions. Kennedy said that the team had "pretty much started over," and it was reported that Jack Thorne was hired to rewrite the initial script. However, in September 2017, it was announced that Trevorrow had left the project due to creative differences, and would be replaced by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, who would also co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Disney agreed to pay a fee to Paramount so that Abrams could make the film, as he had been in breach of contract with the latter by his involvement in The Force Awakens.
It is not yet known how Fisher's passing will affect the role of General Leia Organa in Star Wars: Episode IX or any future Star Wars films. Lucasfilm has dispelled rumors that it would digitally recreate Fisher in future films. Fisher's brother Todd claimed he and Billie Lourd had granted Lucasfilm rights to use recent footage of her. However, Kennedy later confirmed that Fisher will not be in the film.
- "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 Seven."
- ―J.J. Abrams on returning to Star Wars
During a concert with the Young Musician's Foundation Debut Orchestra on February 9, 2013, composer John Williams said he was hoping to get the chance to write the musical scores for the sequel trilogy films. It was implied in Star Wars Insider 144 that he would score the entire "new Star Wars trilogy," but Lucasfilm clarified that he has only been confirmed for Episode VII. Williams was later confirmed for Episode VIII as well, but has not yet been confirmed for Episode IX.
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- "An Exclusive Interview with George Lucas"—Star Wars Insider 26
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 151
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 160