J. J. Abrams's The Force Awakens was a box office triumph for Lucasfilm, and a love letter to the Original Trilogy. As the sequels continue, though, we may see a love letter to the prequel trilogy as well — it seems the studio is planning for Episode IX to bring all three trilogies to a head.
Over on Reddit, a Star Wars fan has spoken about an intriguing conversation he had with both Abrams and screenwriter Chris Terrio (he shared photos to prove it actually happened). This particular fan came to Star Wars through the Prequel Trilogy, and focused on whether or not the prequels would be acknowledged in Episode IX. Intriguingly, Terrio confirmed that they would — and in style:
"I asked about elements of the PT coming into 9 and Chris said about how 9 unites all of it. He said 9 definitely makes it feel like they’re all happening in the same universe, and there would be PT elements in 9. They could be visual or thematic – he didn’t overtly say that there would be returning planets or characters from the PT or anything."
Now, it's worth noting that this is only a post on Reddit, which has since been deleted. What's more, Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo has been openly dismissive of their report.
That being said, these comments do make a lot of sense. Trailers for The Last Jedi have teased that prequel concepts such as "the balance of the Force" will be increasingly important to the sequel trilogy. Mark Hamill recently revealed that the concept of the Chosen One is back in play, and many fans believe Rey to be the latest Chosen One. Others speculate that there are actually two: Rey and Kylo Ren.
The sequel trilogy is definitely attempting to draw the threads of the previous trilogies together.
Is This The End Of The Star Wars Trilogies?
Assuming Lucasfilm is taking this kind of approach, we're left with a fascinating possibility. Back in November 2016, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy openly admitted that the company hadn't yet decided the future direction of the Star Wars franchise. At the time, Kennedy revealed that insiders were discussing whether or not to launch another trilogy after Episode IX, or instead focus on standalones. Rogue One's box office performance was seen as a deciding factor. It's a matter of record that Rogue One performed well, breaking $1 billion at the global box office.
If this Redditor is to be believed, Lucasfilm now views the three trilogies as a single organic entity, a tightly-interwoven story that will be brought to completion by Episode IX. With that story complete, will they then move on to something completely different, and instead focus on standalone films? We recently learned that a Kenobi movie is in the works, and there are rumors that other anthology movies are being discussed.
Although The Force Awakens was a blockbuster hit, the film became a subject of division among Star Wars fans. Many felt the movie was overly nostalgic, with the plot heavily inspired by that of A New Hope. Thankfully, it seems that Abrams is aware of this concern. In a recent interview, he stressed the need to balance the sense of nostalgia with the need to take the franchise in a whole new direction. On the one hand, he wants to capture "the same excitement that we had when were kids." On the other though, he wants to "take them places that they haven't gone [before]."
It's a pleasing sign, one that suggests the director has listened to the criticism from #StarWars fans, and shows that our beloved Galaxy Far, Far Away has the potential to grow into something far greater than just the story of the Skywalkers and the Solos. If the franchise does indeed focus on anthologies going forward, then we could see the galaxy become far less dynastic.
Right now, all the anthologies are directly tied to the main trilogies, but little by little that's sure to change. After all, in 10 years' time when we've got a decade's worth of anthologies to watch, the galaxy will be far more broad.
Do you think the Star Wars universe should embrace anthologies? Let me know in the comments!