The final chapter of the sequel trilogy sees Abrams returning to the helm, after previously taking charge of 2015’s The Force Awakens.
Rian Johnson then took over for the middle movie, The Last Jedi; before Abrams stepped back up to the plate for the as-yet-untitled Episode 9.
This wasn’t the original plan: the keys to the final film were initially handed to Colin Trevorrow, but Abrams was re-enlisted when Trevorrow and LucasFilm parted ways due to creative differences.
Now, Abrams has spoken about getting to work on the story for Episode 9.
The film-maker explained in a new interview that he had a rough idea of where the films could go after he got the ball rolling in The Force Awakens.
However the ideas Johnson introduced in The Last Jedi were, unsurprisingly, seemingly different to what Abrams had envisioned.
He told Fast Company: “I had some gut instincts about where the story would have gone.
“But without getting in the weeds on episode eight, that was a story that Rian wrote and was telling based on seven before we met. So he was taking the thing in another direction.
“So we also had to respond to Episode VIII.
“So our movie was not just following what we had started, it was following what we had started and then had been advanced by someone else.”
Not only does Episode 9 have to wrap up this trilogy, it also has to conclude the entire Skywalker Saga.
“While there are some threads of larger ideas and some big picture things that had been conceived decades ago and a lot of ideas that Lawrence Kasdan and I had when we were doing Episode VII, the lack of absolute inevitability, the lack of a complete structure for this thing, given the way it was being run was an enormous challenge,” Abrams admitted.
The first trailer and the title of Episode 9 are widely believed to be unveiled on Friday, when Star Wars Celebration kicks off in Chicago.
Very little is known about the story at this point, except for small details that include Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) return – presumably as a Force Ghost.
Billy Dee Williams is also back as Lando Calrissian, while Carrie Fisher’s Leia will be seen thanks to archive footage the late star shot for the previous two films.
Star Wars 9 is out on December 19.