Even though he’s currently wrapping up work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams’ stint in a galaxy far, far away may be far from over. Last week we learned that the Gareth Edwards-directed spinoff isn’t scheduled until 2016, and Episode VIII, with Rian Johnson at the helm, won’t bow for another two years. Nevertheless, that packed slate isn’t stopping Disney from looking to the future.
Latino Review reports that “there’s a good chance” Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode IX, after studio brass caught a screening of The Force Awakens and were “very happy” with the footage presented. Whether or not Abrams wishes to return to the franchise in such a pivotal role, however, remains to be seen. The amount of time and energy required to commandeer another major instalment may dissuade him. That being said, his unabashed enthusiasm for the Star Wars property cannot be discounted, and with a sufficient break to engage in other projects, he may indeed be eager to return.
Up until now, circulating rumors have hinted at a series of behind-the-scenes power struggles between the director and studio. His initial aim for The Force Awakens was for a 2016 release, with a delayed rollout of the first teaser trailer; two battles in which the studio emerged victorious. On top of that, during last week’s announcement confirming Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII, Abrams’ name was curiously absent from all initial press releases until he was hastily added on as an executive producer.
If those scuffles are to be believed (or not), then the outcome of this latest rumor could easily swing either way. On one side of the argument, Disney still has plenty of time to lock down a director for the trilogy’s final chapter and may find another fresh name to take the spot. On the other, Abrams may be refreshed by time away from all things Star Wars and be ready to take up the mantle for Episode IX.
Whatever happens, there’s still a lot bubbling away on the franchise until then. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18, Star Wars: Rogue One hits a year later on December 16, 2016 and Episode VIII bows May 26, 2017.