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Did J.J. Abrams Write An Abandoned Draft Of Star Wars: Episode VIII?

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As most Star Wars fans know by now, George Lucas spent a great deal of time developing stories for Episode VII, Episode VIII, and Episode IX, only to have these ideas scrapped when he sold Lucasfilm—and his signature franchise—to Disney.

Once that deal was finalized, J.J. Abrams set to developing a new story with veteran Star Wars writer, Lawrence Kasdan. What’s not as well known is that, like Lucas, Abrams also developed story material for two additional films. In a recent interview with France’s Le Magazine GEEK, Daisy Ridley racked her brain to piece together the history of Abrams’ abandoned script(s)—and the influence they had on Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.

“J. J. wrote Episode VII, as well as drafts for VIII and IX,” she said. “Then Rian Johnson arrived and wrote The Last Jedi 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.”

What all of this means for Episode IX is hard to say, but it seems possible that Abrams will resurrect some of his abandoned ideas—and also tap into contributions from his cast, including Ridley. “We sometimes hear that actors from a blockbuster do not have the opportunity to express their opinions,” she explained. “Thankfully, this never has been my case regarding Star Wars. Every time I wanted to share my point of view concerning a scene or an idea about the script, people took their time to listen to what I had to say and a real conversation started. That being said, I am aware that I’m not a screenwriter, nor a director.”

Star Wars: Episode IX arrives in theatres on December 20, 2019.