RUMOR: Disney Wants J.J. Abrams Back To Direct “Star Wars: Episode IX”

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This story has been making the rounds this week that J.J. Abrams may be returning to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

From Latino Review:

Despite his absence from the production team on the next installment, his commitment to other ongoing franchises and early rumors of disagreements between him and the Disney Team, there’s a good chance that J.J. Abrams will be back to direct Star Wars: Episode IX.

There are enough conversations about J.J. Abrams returning to direct Episode IX that we’ve been able to independently verify it four times that his name is the front-runner for the last trilogy installment.

From Making StarWars:

There was also another rumor going around that Abrams was reviewing Rian Johnson’s work and they were worked out a final outline for the final installment in this trilogy because VIII is getting tighter and more refined (it should shoot with some overlap with Rogue One). That makes sense and it kind of a “of course they would do that” kind of thing. He is the executive producer. There is another rumor that Rian Johnson is not totally out IX but the production timeline makes it seem nearly impossible and from what I have seen that appears to be true about the timeline aspect.

That rumor about Abrams is going around Latino Review reported today. I personally don’t think its really worked out yet. But here’s the big thing for me. J.J. Abrams executive producing the rest of the trilogy might have been agreed upon before he ever signed. But it probably also means Abrams is doing a kick ass job with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy are pleased with his work (which is not surprising but still good to hear).

The good thing here, if this is true, is that Disney has seen very early cuts of the film and they are loving what they have seen and they want Abrams back.

My personal opinion is let’s see what Abrams does with the “The Force Awakens” before we get too excited. I’ve been burned before with the promise of a new “Star Wars” movie and probably what affected the movie the most was bad directing by George Lucas. I have no problem saying that I am not a fan of The Prequels. The Prequel Trilogy had many problems but this always bothered me the most. You had actors such as Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Brian Blessed and Hayden Christensen (he was OK in “Jumper”) and they were all horrible? This has to be the result of Lucas’ poor directing skills. These are actors that I have seen in many other movies where they have given some great performances. But now you put all of these actors together in a movie trilogy and all of their acting is wooden, boring and lifeless. That’s not the actors fault, it’s the director’s. I know people will debate me on this but they all acted horribly in the Prequels. Even Yoda was bad, and he was great in The Original Trilogy!

My point is that it’s not always a good thing to have the same director doing ever single movie of a trilogy. You also dont want to give one man to much power in which he feels he has free reign to do whatever he wants. I felt that having Peter Jackson direct all of the films in “The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy” worked very well but look what he did to “The Hobbit Trilogy.” To me the best Star Wars movie was “The Empire Strikes Back” and a huge part of it was because Irving Kirshner directed the film instead of George Lucas. If Lucas would have directed that film, it would have been a completely different film. Lucas has said that “Empire” is his least favorite “Star Wars” film.

I really need to see what J.J. Abrams does with his first “Star Wars” movie before I can be excited or disappointed with the thought of his return. And I cant wait….but I hope it’s good!

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About the author

Joe Hogarty

Joe moved from New York to Florida back in 1997. He currently resides in St. Petersburg and visits the parks frequently. His first visit to the Magic Kingdom was when he was 8 years old back in 1974. Joe originally originally started as a photographer for WDWNT and is now the host of WDWNT: Nerd Alert, our movie reviewer and reports the news for WDWNT. You can contact Joe through email at [email protected]


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  • I disagree that the actors acted horribly, Joe. They were simply doing the best they could with horrid scripts. Think Judy Dench from Spaceship Earth. Is there anything wrong with her narration that she could have controlled? No, she was just given an awful script. Look, they could have given Robert Duvall that laugh out loud line about hating sand and he wouldn’t have been able to make it any less cringe-worthy.

    As for directors, I’m not entirely sure where I stand on it. I think what could potentially be jarring is Abrams will set a definitive visual style in The Force Awakens. What if episode VIII has a completely different visual style? And before you downplay it, the visual style of a movie is really its ultimate signature. While I wouldn’t put Abrams on the same level as cats like Ridley Scott or Stanley Kubrick, his visual style does stand out on its own. The two quick stormtrooper shots in the trailer are quintessential Abrams. And he’s now setting expectations for the forthcoming series.

    Just a thought…

    • I still stand by what I said. I think the acting was horrible. A lot of them had difficulty getting work afterwards because of The Prequels. I read an article recently about Natalie Portman and how she said that no one wanted to work with her after The Prequels. At the time Mike Nichols, who passed away last year, went out of his way and stood up for her. He called a few directors and told them that she is still a good actress and to look at her non Prequel work. But she specifically said, “No one would work with me after Star Wars.” That is sad. Samuel L Jackson was not playing Mace Windu, he was playing Samuel L Jackson. But he does that a lot, like in Avengers. I felt both Neeson and McGregor were horrible and had zero chemistry together. I cant stand McGregor’s poorly done imitation of Alec Guinness. Speaking of no chemistry, that was Christensen and Portman. Any scenes that they were in together are cringe worthy. I think for the most part they all resent doing the Prequels. Both Neeson and McGregor’s career both took a dive. And Hayden Christensen’s career is basically non existent now. (But I guess you could say the same about Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill)

      Francis Ford Coppola directed one scene in Revenge Of The Sith where Padme is at her apartment and Anakin is at the Jedi Council. No words are spoken by either of them, it keeps flashing back to both of them, looking out the window. That is the most believable scene in the whole series because Lucas didn’t have his hands on it. Even before I knew that, I always felt that scene stood out as better than most of the scenes. There were two good actors there, they just had a horrible director, who from what I heard doesn’t really give direction.

      Kind of funny, one time I had to put my TV on mute and had one of the Prequels on and said to myself, this actually isn’t a bad movie, as long as no one talks and I cant hear the dialogue. I later just put John Williams soundtrack on and left the sound off. The Prequels work much better as silent movies. I’m not kidding.

      But yes, I agree with you that the script was horrible. Still blame the acting on Lucas’ poor directing skills.

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Rian Johnson, who is doing Episode VIII. I liked Looper, didn’t love it but most writers feel that this was a big step in the right direction that Disney hired Johnson. I have no idea why they hired Garth Edwards and Josh Trank to direct the spinoffs. Don’t have much confidence in them at all.

      I am really hoping that the next trailer reveals the story and what we can expect. Yeah, I am worried about The Force Awakens. And I am sure that Abrams is having difficulty sleeping at night. I will say one thing that made me happy is I have no issues with the cast. Dont know most of them but at least they didnt go with big stars. The good thing is that the trailer does make it feel like Star Wars.

      By the way, I love Stanley Kubrick’s work.

      • You make an excellent case, Joe. We’ll have to agree to disagree, but I appreciate the fact that you laid out your case in such a thoughtful manner. Especially since you, in the end, laid the blame at the feet of Lucas. :)

        And though I still have never made it through the first Abrams attempt at Star Trek, I did like Into Darkness quite a bit. Not to mention how much weight he grants the feedback of his fans (thinking lens flares here, in particular). I’m not worried about The Force Awakens. If nothing else, the teaser trailer clearly shows that he “gets it”. It already looks like it will be darker and grittier in the same way Into Darkness was. Maybe not to the same degree as a Nolan vs. Burton Batman movie, but I think that since he’s such a huge fan, he will grant it the same gravity that the rest of us fanboys do. He’s not going to approach it as the Spaghetti Western set in space that Lucas originally imagined, yet he’ll keep just enough of that spirit bubbling under the surface as to not alienate anyone with some heavy downer movie.

        Oh, and no need to even get me started on Kubrick. He was, is, and will likely always remain the best director in history. 2001 changed everything, and directors have been trying to catch up to it ever since. IIRC, didn’t Kubrick design the camera, or photography method, used for 2001…which Lucas then used for Star Wars nearly a decade later?

        • Sorry if I wasn’t clear in the article. I edited it to put the blame squarely on Lucas and not on the actors.

          I loved both Star Trek movies that Abrams did. The first one was extremely risky and it paid off. The second one he tried to capture that magic of throwing something risky into the script but it didn’t work this time. The problem is that they brought in Kahn too early. SPOILERS: And Kirk’s death had no weight because the crew had only know each other for a few months. Spock’s death in Wrath Of Khan was much more impactful because the crew had gone through a 5 year mission and remained friends even after their missions were over. They had to have known each other for at least 20 – 30 years. With Abrams Into Darkness, we had seen it before but done better and I think that is what turned a lot of fans off. But I was able to look past that and still enjoy the movie.

          What I love about Abrams, and I assume Kathleen Kennedy and Disney saw this too, is that he works well with an ensemble. That had to be extremely daunting casting unknown actors to basically replace the original actors that we had all come to know and love for over 40 years, but Abrams was successful. Lucas had a group of veteran actors in the Prequels and he was unable to establish any chemistry between them.

          The lens flare never really bothered me until people started pointing it out and then I agreed he was a bit excessive with it.

          I have read spoilers from two possible scripts for The Force Awakens. One is extremely risky, which I really hope they go with, and the other is extremely safe. But they could be fake and no one knows for sure if some of the potential spoilers were from the original script that David Arndt wrote before he was let go.

          I like what you say about Abrams being a fan and how he gets it. That was the problem with Lucas overseeing everything, he no longer got it and felt that I can say whatever I want and people will have to accept it. I remember reading an article about Lucasarts and how they fell apart. Some of the developers mentioned that during a conference call for the game The Force Unleashed, they told Lucas that they wanted to bring in a new Sith Lord and they said to Lucas, they would be honored if he would name the new Sith Lord. Lucas said, “Darth Icky” and “Darth Insanius.” The developers were all quiet waiting for George to say, “just kidding” but he was serious. He just doesn’t get it anymore.

          I was just reading around Oscar time how back in 1969, 2001 was not even nominated for Best Picture and that Oliver won Best Picture that year. That just blew my mind. Not sure about the camera design but that sounds right to me.

      • Coppola didn’t direct any scenes in SITH. Where did you hear this? Spielberg designed some animatics but not the scene you referenced.

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