I was initially surprised to hear the news that J.J. Abrams signed on to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. After he was done with The Force Awakens, it seemed like he wasn't interested in directing anymore Star Wars films. He previously explained:
“It was a wonderful way to visit a place that meant so much to me and obviously so many. I knew that if it worked, it was the perfect time to step down – and if it didn’t, no one would want me to do it anyway.”
Then shortly after Colin Trevorrow was fired, Abrams agreed to take on it. I've heard from a source that Rian Johnson was initially going to do it, but then Abrams supposedly called up Kathleen Kennedy and asked to direct it, so he jumped at the opportunity and Lucasfilm was like "Hell, yeah!"
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Abrams opened up on why he ultimately decided to direct the final chapter of this latest trilogy, saying:
“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.”
I personally loved what Abrams did with The Force Awakens, so I'm excited to see how the filmmaker closes on the trilogy. Not everyone was as thrilled as most fans, but Abrams is looking to do give us an ending that he hopes fans will love. He goes on to say:
“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.”
At this point, it's hard to even speculate what might happen in Episode IX because we haven't even seen The Last Jedi yet. One thing we do know is that Abrams is excited to tell the story and he's looking to do an even better job this time around.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15, 2017 and Star Wars: Episode IX opens December 20, 2019.