J.J. Abrams says he never intended on returning to Star Wars, so what changed?

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Mar 27, 2021, 3:00 AM EDT (Updated)

Remember way back in January when Star Wars: The Force Awakens writer/director J.J. Abrams promised that he was done with reboots, and focused on getting back to original projects again? Well, obviously something changed, since he’s back helming Star Wars: Episode IX, but what?

According to one of the many leftover tidbits from Rolling Stones’ sprawling The Last Jedi cover story, Abrams saw the light, and seemed to realize that he really was working with original characters, whose story wasn’t over yet:

"I had no intention to return," Abrams told Rolling Stone. "But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven. I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn't quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story. The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up."

Which just makes us even hungrier to see what he’s got cooking, particularly since Abrams has already expressed that Episode IX won’t retread the old stories, and will indeed take us “elsewhere.”

According to Rolling Stone, at least one Star Wars star was delighted by the unexpected news that Abrams would be back: Daisy Ridley, especially since she thought The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson, would be taking over for Episode IX’s first director, Colin Trevorrow. Upon hearing the news, Ridley was overcome with emotion:

"Everyone was saying it was going to be Rian and everything, so I was genuinely quite surprised … and was like 'Oh my God!' and I started crying immediately with three people in the office. And they were like, 'What the f*** just happened?' So I emailed J.J. saying, 'Oh my God I am crying.' And he goes, 'Oh my God, me too.'"

With all this talk about Episode IX, slated for Dec. 20, 2019, it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves. But as we’re sure we don’t have to remind you, we haven’t even seen Episode VIII yet, which drops in just over a week, on Dec. 15. What a franchise!