Though Rian Johnson certainly made Star Wars: The Last Jedi his own, he wasn't working entirely from scratch. A new interview with Star Wars star Daisy Ridley tells us that J. J. Abrams, the co-writer and director of the previous film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, apparently wrote story drafts for both Episode VIII and Episode IX.
According to Star Wars News Net, this information came out while Ridley was being asked about Rey's backstory. The Last Jedi (rather famously, at this point) answers the question of who her parents are — they weren't Skywalkers, Kenobis, Mundis, or Windus — they were, as Kylo Ren tells her, "filthy junk traders." They were nobodies, and they "sold her off for drinking money."
Was this always the plan, or was it something Johnson decided himself? According to Ridley (and SWNN), Abrams "came up with a general plan for the story of The Last Jedi" as well as Episode IX, which he is now officially co-writing and directing.
While she doesn't answer whether or not Kylo's answer to the question about her parents is completely true, she does shed whatever light she can on the creative process, offering the following:
"Here's what I think I know. J.J. wrote Episode VII, as well as drafts for 8 and 9. Then Rian Johnson arrived and write TLJ entirely. I believe there was some sort of general consensus on the main lines of the trilogy, but apart from that, every director writes and realizes his film in his own way. Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams met to discuss all of this, although Episode VIII is still his very own work. I believe Rian didn't keep anything from the first draft of Episode VIII."
While Abrams didn't write or direct The Last Jedi, he was still involved, operating on the producing side of things. Though Johnson likely tossed most everything away and made the movie his own, Ridley confirms that Abrams would have been aware of any major changes, in that she mentions a "general consensus." It is also fairly clear that Abrams approved of where Johnson took The Last Jedi, as he has gone on record as loving the film.
The question of Rey's parentage was a huge loose end that Abrams left hanging in The Force Awakens, and as Rey herself is the fulcrum of this new trilogy, it seems unlikely that the answer to the question is something that Johnson would change without consulting anybody. What's almost more interesting than Abrams working on an initial draft of The Last Jedi, however, is the fact that he worked on a preliminary draft of Episode IX.
There's no way that original conception of the film is able to continue as he originally planned it — the death of Carrie Fisher (General Leia) guarantees that, and even the draft that former director Colin Trevorrow was working on had to be scraped after Fisher passed into the Force. Now that Abrams is back behind the controls, how much of his initial draft will he be using, and how will Johnson's work on The Last Jedi affect it? At the moment we don't know, and things will probably stay that way until Episode IX is released to the masses (it cannot possibly come soon enough). It's hard to get a full view of the picture with only two thirds of the puzzle assembled.
One thing that we can take away from all of this is that Abrams didn't just write The Force Awakens without having any idea of where things would go next — though he may have only had a general notion of a grander design (and that design would be altered by Johnson as well as by life itself), he did have something resembling one. We greatly look forward to a three-hour long (or longer) documentary about all of this after Episode IX has entered our lives.
(Via: Star Wars News Net)