J.J. Abrams Says Star Wars Episode VIII Is Already Written, Reveals Collaboration with Rian Johnson

Monday, 09 November 2015 - 11:17AM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Monday, 09 November 2015 - 11:17AM
J.J. Abrams Says Star Wars Episode VIII Is Already Written, Reveals Collaboration with Rian Johnson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is J.J. Abrams's baby, while Breaking Bad and Looper's Rian Johnson will take over directing duties for Episode VIII. But Abrams's involvement won't end there, as he is staying on as executive producer for the sequel. Plus, the two films obviously need to work together, as together they form the first 2/3 of a trilogy.

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Working on this new movie has been as much about trying to set up elements of what is beyond what you're seeing as it has been about telling a story that will be satisfying in and of itself," Abrams told Wired in a recent interview. "But it can't feel like a cop-out-like we're just setting things up and not resolving them.
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As a result, Johnson was involved with The Force Awakens and Abrams consulted on the story development for Episode VIII (which apparently already has a script), in order to ensure that all of the threads set up in Force Awakens were sufficiently addressed in the subsequent film:

Opening quote
The script for VIII is written. I'm sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what [Lawrence Kasdan] and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going. We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we've been as transparent as possible.
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But Abrams clarified that Episode VIII is still very much Johnson's film, just as The Force Awakens is Abrams's brainchild:

Opening quote
Rian has asked for a couple of things here and there that he needs for his story. He is an incredibly accomplished filmmaker and an incredibly strong writer. So the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction that he felt was best but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well. But you're right-that will be his movie; he's going to do it in the way he sees fit. He's neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process.
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From the sounds of it, all of the powers-that-be behind the new Star Wars films are committed to making a cohesive trilogy that doesn't drop plot threads or themes willy-nilly (which should be a relief to all of the disappointed Lost fans out there). And the trend should continue after Episode VIII, as Rian Johnson is set to write the story treatment for Episode IX before handing over the reins to Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow.



Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, while Episode VIII is slated to come out on May 26, 2017.
Science Fiction
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Star Wars
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Force Awakens