Star Wars: Rian Johnson Scrapped J.J. Abrams’ Episode VIII Script

J.J. Abrams wrote scripts for all Star Wars Sequel Trilogy installments, according to Daisy Ridley.

In the early days of Star Wars and into the Prequel era, the franchise was known for its singular vision. For better or worse, George Lucas’ vision ruled every aspect of the franchise, whether it be the movies, the animated series, games, or books. Well, according to a new interview with Daisy Ridley over at Geek Le Mag (via IGN), the Sequel Trilogy could have also had a singular voice.

Ridley revealed to Geek Le Mag that J.J. Abrams, who directed and co-wrote The Force Awakens, also wrote scripts for Episode VIII and IX before Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow jumped in to direct the sequels. 

“Here’s what I think I know. J.J. wrote Episode VII, as well as drafts for VIII & IX,” Ridley said. “Then Rian Johnson arrived and wrote 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.”

Exactly how much of the Sequel Trilogy was outlined in the early days of development by Abrams and the Lucasfilm Story Group remains a bit hazy, but we do know that Abrams and Johnson collaborated when it came to bridging the gap between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Johnson, for example, asked Abrams to send R2-D2 on the mission to find Luke Skywalker instead of BB-8 so that the astromech droid could play back Leia’s original message to Obi-Wan Kenobi for Luke in The Last Jedi

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“Rian Johnson and J. J. Abrams met to discuss all of this, although Episode VIII is still his very own work,” Ridley explained of Abrams’ involvement with The Last Jedi. “I believe Rian didn’t keep anything from the first draft of Episode VIII.”

We do know that Abrams, at the very least, had a hand in crafting Rey and Luke’s story in The Last Jedi. In fact, the setup of a broken Luke teaching a new Jedi hopeful was originally the basis for The Force Awakens before the original screenwriter, Michael Arndt, suggested pushing the Luke reveal to the end of the movie instead. Something even wilder: Lucas himself sat in on these early creative meetings.

While Abrams did not end up being the writer of Episode VIII, he is set to return as the co-writer (with Chris Terrio) and director of Episode IX after replacing Trevorrow in 2017. Abrams updated fans on the status of IX back in February, revealing that the script is finished and that filming will begin in July.