J.J. Abrams, the director of Star Wars: Episode IX, has revealed how he nearly said no to coming back to the franchise.
There was many an excited fan when news broke that J.J. Abrams would be returning to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. The director, of course, helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens before stepping aside for Rian Johnson to direct The Last Jedi.
Abrams wasn’t always going to direct Episode IX and with the time constraints put on him and his complete surprise at being asked, the director has revealed to Fast Company that he nearly said no:
“I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t the guy, ya’ know? I was working on some other things, and I had something else that I was assuming would be the next project, if we’d be so lucky. And then [Lucasfilm president] Kathy Kennedy called and said, ‘Would you really, seriously, consider coming aboard?’ And once that started, it all happened pretty quickly. The whole thing was a crazy leap of faith. And there was an actual moment when I nearly said, ‘No, I’m not going to do this.’ I was trepidatious to begin with, getting involved, because I love Star Wars so much and felt like it was … It was almost, on a personal level, a dangerous thing to get too close to something that you care that much about.
“With Force Awakens, I feel like we managed to introduce these new characters—for some people, new actors—and continue a story in a way that I thought had heart and humanity and humor and surprise. Though, of course, I’m aware that there are critics of that movie, it felt to me like we dodged a bullet. Like we got in there, we got to do something. And I left loving Star Wars as much as I did when I got there. Like, somehow, it was on a personal, selfish level something I was really happy to have done. Not just excited about doing but happy to have done. And to ask to have that happen again, I felt a little bit like I was playing with fire. Like, why go back? We managed to make it work. What the hell am I thinking?”
Despite his apprehensions, Abrams says it was his wife that helped convince him to return: “And there was a moment when I literally said, ‘No,’ and Katie said, ‘You should do this.’ And my first thought was, has she met someone? And then I thought, she’s usually right about stuff. And when she said it, I think that she felt like it was an opportunity to bring to a close this story that we had begun and had continued, of course. And I could see that even though the last thing on my mind was going away and jumping back into that, especially with the time constraints that we were faced with.”
It’s clear that Abrams is a true fan of the franchise and it seems that his love for Star Wars nearly got in the way of him directing Episode IX. Fingers crossed his decision is vindicated and he can deliver another memorable entry.
Star Wars: Episode IX is set for release on December 20th 2019 with J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) directing a cast that includes Star Wars veterans Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) as well as new additions Naomi Ackie (Lady Mabeth), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), and Keri Russell (The Americans).