Abrams has a huge task ahead of him.
Not only does he have the enormous pressure of bringing home a beloved franchise with a single storyline which will span nine movies and five decades.
He also faces the extraordinary rift in the fandom which created a major backlash after The Last Jedi, with many fans unhappy over the direction taken by Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy.
Episode 9 has officially started filming and Abrams posted the first image earlier today.
Abrams posted a shot of film equipment with the comment: “Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. Grateful for Rian Johnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part.”
The nod to George Lucas ties in with other comments made recently to Rolling Stone which stressed how Abrams was determined to honour the spirit in which he made The Force Awakens.
The following major quote will leave many fans reassured that Abrams will move away from some of the tone and plot decisions made by Johnson
Abrams said: “The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.”
Whatver anyone’s views on Episode 7 and 8, there is no mistaking that the two movies are very different tonally and in intentions.
Abrams stayed true to Lucas’ original tone and also laid groundwork for Snoke and Rey’s parentage as the two new central themes. Rian Johnson appeared to disregard much of this, which infuriated and alienated a major part of the original fanbase.
Can Abrams pick up where The Last Jedi left off and somehow continue the story and win back the boycotting fans?
The director also appeared to acknowledge that Episode 7 was not perfect. Many fans felt it was too much of a rerun of Episode 4.
He added: “When the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in VII. I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story.”