That’s a Wrap: J.J. Abrams Posts Photo From Last Day of ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Filming
A new Star Wars movie is no longer quite so far, far away.
On Friday, director J.J. Abrams announced on Twitter that filming had wrapped on the as-yet-untitled ninth installment of original Star Wars saga. “It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on Episode IX,” Abrams wrote below an on-set photo of co-stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac. “There is no adequate way to thank this truly magical crew and cast. I’m forever indebted to you all.”
The cast photo finds the Ridley, Boyega, and Isaac—dressed in character as, respectively, Rey, Finn, and Poe—embracing on a desert landscape that looks similar to Jakku, the vast, sand-covered planet that was introduced in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens (though it could also be Tatooine, the homeland of Luke Skywalker, who helped launch the Star Wars saga with 1977’s A New Hope).
Abrams directed and co-wrote The Force Awakens, the first new Star Wars film in more than a decade, as well as the first to be released by Disney, which acquired the series when it bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion. Force Awakens marked the return of original-trilogy stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill, and earned nearly a billion dollars in the United States, allowing it surpass Avatar as the highest-grossing domestic film of all time. Writer-director Rian Johnson’s 2017 follow-up, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, didn’t perform quite as well, but it landed strong reviews (and endured a backlash from some especially vocal online fans).
Disney’s other Star Wars theatrical releases have enjoyed mixed results. While 2016’s prequel Rogue One was a smash hit, last year’s Solo was the lowest-grossing modern Star Wars film, barely making more than $200 million in the United States. And both were plagued with behind-the-scenes obstacles, including extensive re-shoots.
Yet despite some concerns of Star Wars saturation, Episode IX is expected to dominate theaters when it opens this winter. The film will close out the most recent three-part Star Wars storyline, and concluding films like 1983’s Return of the Jedi and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith both performed better than their immediate predecessors. And many of the film’s young cast—which also includes BlacKkKlansman star (and current Oscar nominee) Adam Driver—are emerging as small-scale box-office draws on their own.
Mostly, though, Episode IX will benefit from the full force of the Star Wars franchise, now in its fourth decade. The movies have earned more than $4 billion combined, according to Box Office Mojo, making it the second-most popular movies series of all time, behind Disney’s Marvel films. We’ll find out Episode IX‘s place in the new Star Wars box-office order when it opens December 20.