Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm (via J.J. Abrams‘ Twitter feed) have revealed the first photo from the set of Star Wars: Episode IX to announce the start of production on the follow-up to Rian Johnsons' controversial The Last Jedi.
Definitely, J.J. Abrams and Disney have a massive uphill battle awaiting as fans have never before been split over such a beloved and recognizable franchise as Star Wars. There has been constant heat since Episode VIII regarding Rian Johnson and President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy. I have had my opinions about The Last Jedi and I did not even bother seeing Solo, which according to Vanity Fair and Rotten Tomatoes, Solo earned just $29.3 million—a 65-percent drop from its opening weekend. Solo with the re-shoot/re-edits and under Ron Howard, cost over $250 million dollars in production cost!
The film domestically as of July 31, 2018 brought in $212,783,601. Do the math, Solo flopped here in the U.S. and the worldwide numbers barely broke expected profits. A dark time for Disney regarding the Star Wars franchise.
What can we learn from this first official release from the production? Absolutely nothing... Finn’s got a new vest (woopie-do), with a blurry John Boyega. Chewbacca can also be seen in the co-pilot’s seat. From what I observe Abrams is using his PanaFlex camera, which means like the previous two films in the sequel trilogy, this one will be shot on film by Abrams’ longtime cinematographer Dan Mindel.
Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who), Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park, Hudson Hawk) and Keri Russell (The Americans), who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.
I would like to know what Mark Hamill now feels regarding Abrams approach as to oppose to Rian Johnson. It is worth noting that during Episode VIII, Hamill's being his intellectual self, questioned the direction of the director's approach to Luke Skywalker. SIGGGH*** that movie is canon and I have to accept it no matter how much Episode VIII split the fanbase.
Regardless, J.J. Abrams is back on the helm of Episode IX and I am really not looking forward to the results of one of the beloved stories in cinema history.