Ahead of this weekend’s D23 Expo, Entertainment Weekly has revealed the cover to their latest issue which features none other than Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and his crossguard lightsaber from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi.
“You rarely get a chance to be involved in something that you would typically be an audience for,” Abrams says about his initial hesitation to sign on for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “Katie, my wife, said, ‘If you want to do this and you don’t, you’re going to regret this.’ It was really about being willing to take that leap, and jump into the possibilities of what these characters are doing, and where they are.”
Abrams wasn’t the only one lured in to the world as screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan revealed what drew him back into the world of “Star Wars” after sitting out production on the prequel films.
“I thought, ‘Wow, okay, these people have lived — they’re in a different place in their lives, Han and Leia and so on. They’ve lived the same 30 years I have. What would that be like? How would you see things differently?’” Kasdan tells the magazine. “And I was trying to figure out how I saw things differently, and one of the surprises is that you don’t learn all that much. You haven’t become much wiser than you were, and things are not clearer to you, and the world is just as confusing as it always was — and that’s a kind of lovely thing to get to write about again. Age does not necessarily bring wisdom; it just brings experience.”
Brief new details on the film are also revealed, such as Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren being referred to as “Darth Vader obsessive” and that Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia is now in possession of Darth Vader’s original lightsaber, once thought lost after Luke’s hand was severed in The Empire Strikes Back.
Looking to the future, J.J. Abrams had some high praise for Rian Johnson’s work so far in crafting Episode VIII, saying: “It’s a thrill to see [Johnson] take things and elevate them beyond what we had imagined at the time.”
Kathleen Kennedy also chimed in on Johnson’s work, revealing that the writer/director started from scratch on the project: “We know where we’re going, but only in the broadest sense. When Rian came in and started writing his script, he started from scratch, other than knowing what we had done in Episode VII and projecting out where it was going. He then sat down and put pen to paper, and it’s 100 percent him.”
Finally, Abrams made a firm reveal about whether he will return to the franchise with Episode IX, announcinging: “No, I’m not going to direct Episode IX, as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies.”
Starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Crystal Clarke, Pip Anderson, Christina Chong and Miltos Yerolemou, the J.J. Abrams-directed film will debut in theaters on December 18, 2015.
It will be followed on December 16, 2016 by Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017, and the Han Solo anthology movie on May 25, 2018. No release dates have been announced for Star Wars: Episode IX and the third anthology movie.