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It seems like only yesterday that Disney acquired the rights to Lucasfilm, and we’re already getting a new movie in the long-awaited franchise return…

Nah, who am I kidding? It’s been three long years since Disney’s triumphant announcement, and December 18th couldn’t get here soon enough. Fans have been waiting a long time for this moment, but if director J.J. Abrams and company are able to deliver on everything they’ve promised, then us fans are in for a real treat. But in true Disney fashion, eyes are already headed toward the future, beyond “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

In a recent interview with Wired, J.J. Abrams confirmed that “Star Wars Episode VIII” director Rian Johnson had finished the script for the next entry in the main “Star Wars” saga, and also delved into what bits of information the latter filmmaker was given regarding “The Force Awakens” to ensure that “VIII” fell in line.

“The script for VIII is written. I’m sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what [Lawrence Kasdan] and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going. We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we’ve been as transparent as possible.

Rian has asked for a couple things here and there that he needs for his story… the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction he felt was best but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well.” 

It’s comforting to know that these filmmakers don’t close themselves off in boxes from each other. Fans would hate it if these films felt like they existed in different universes. Apart from that, It’s no real surprise that the script for “Star Wars Episode VIII” is finished. After all, the film is slated for a May 2017 release–that’s around a year and a half away. Usually, a film begins shooting a year away from its release, often more. So the deadline is fast-approaching. While Rian Johnson is undoubtedly feeling the pressure from carrying on such a legacy, it is incredibly comforting to know that the productions are closely knit, despite the fact that each film is helmed by a different director.

Ultimately, though, it’s good to know that Disney seems to be on their game when it comes to “Star Wars.” Too often do we hear of big films heading into production with half-completed scripts (I’m looking at you, Marvel). WIth a franchise as beloved as “Star Wars,” I’m happy to see that they’re giving the filmmakers time to get the story right. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see “The Force Awakens” before we give the franchise a pass, but thinks seems to be looking good. 

Are you looking forward to “Star Wars Episode VIII,” or are you more excited for, say, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the anthology film hitting theaters in December 2016? Let us know your thoughts below!

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters on December 18, 2015, and “Star Wars Episode VIII” hits theaters on May 26, 2017.

SOURCE: Wired (via The Verge)