J.J. Abrams talks bringing Chris Terrio on to co-write Episode IX
The world will finally get our first glimpse at Star Wars Episode IX later this week as director J.J. Abrams takes the stage at Star Wars Celebration to reveal the first look at the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. Ahead of that, the filmmaker has high praise for the film and says that despite the time constraints of the sequel he thinks they’ve cooked up something “incredibly special.”
“Because this was such a mega job, I knew at the very least I needed a cowriter to work on this thing, but I didn’t know who that cowriter would be. There was nothing. So the first thing I did was reach out to a writer who I’ve admired for years, Chris Terrio. who I didn’t really know, to say, ‘Listen, would you want to write Star Wars with me?” And he screamed..What I realized in that moment was, I hadn’t been aware until then that I needed to work with someone who would scream at the prospect of working on Star Wars. Because I had been through the process, and I was looking at brass tacks: This is what it’s going to take, this is the reality of it. And he was looking at it sort of childlike: Oh my God, I can’t believe we get to play in this world, which I needed to be reminded of. I needed that point of view, because that’s not where I was. Of course, I was excited about what we could do, but I was acutely aware of how little time we had to do a fairly enormous job.”
Abrams also opened up about building off not only Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but the preceding seven films as well.
“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 Episode VII, 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.”
The director concluded the talk by revealing high-praise for the sequel, he naturally thinks they pulled it off.
“the difference is I feel like we might’ve done it. Like, I actually feel like this crazy challenge that could have been a wildly uncomfortable contortion of ideas, and a kind of shoving-in of answers and Band-Aids and bridges and things that would have felt messy. Strangely, we were sort of relentless and almost unbearably disciplined about the story and forcing ourselves to question and answer some fundamental things that at the beginning, I absolutely had no clue how we would begin to address. I feel like we’ve gotten to a place—without jinxing anything or sounding more confident than I deserve to be—I feel like we’re in a place where we might have something incredibly special. So I feel relief being home, and I feel gratitude that I got to do it. And more than anything, I’m excited about what I think we might have.”
Returning cast members for Episode IX include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast are Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings), Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Keri Russell (The Americans), who will also be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.
The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: Episode IX filmed for six-and-a-half months starting August 1, 2018 and ending on February 15, 2019, with J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek) returning to direct the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Episode IX.
Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release on December 20.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)