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This is exactly the news I was hoping for. After re-launching STAR WARS with the start of a sequel trilogy that began with his 2015 film, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, J.J. Abrams is returning to close-out the trilogy. This morning it was announced by Lucasfilm that Abrams is on-board to write and direct the currently-untitled STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.

“With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in a statement.

Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.

Back in 2015, I had the honor of working with Disney in the promotional ramp-up to THE FORCE AWAKENS. During an interview, the following exchange happened between myself and J.J. Abrams:

Zahn: “Being here to help relaunch this saga for a new generation of families, and you’re kind of passing the torch to future directors that are going to be exploring this in different offshoots and what not, will you be able to really sit back and enjoy it as a fan now without thinking of what your creative stamp would be as the saga continues?” 

THE FORCE AWAKENSAbrams: “Well, I will say that I knew getting involved in this project that it was an honor to be asked. And I knew that my role would be as ‘temporary guardian’ of this saga. I knew also as I was working on it, that if the movie works, what a great time to step down. And if the movie doesn’t work, who wants me to work on the next one anyway, you know? So it was win-win.”

“I’m really looking forward to telling original stories that I’ve been sort of wonderfully and happily sidetracked from with the movies I’ve been working on, but I do look forward to working on something that doesn’t need to have a number in the title. And, I cannot wait to see what the directors who are named and being discussed will do in this universe coming up, because there’s some really talented people that I know are doing extraordinary things.”

“It’s very exciting to get to work with Larry Kasdan to begin what we knew was the start of a new trilogy.  It was a rare thing in a movie, which is to start a story that you know needs to be satisfying in and of itself, but also serve as the beginning of a larger tale.”

With early word indicating that director Rian Johnson has accomplished some fantastic things with this year’s STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, I can’t think of a better person to finish out the new trilogy than the one who started it. 

Welcome back, J.J. 

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