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J.J. Abrams says he has a script for Episode IX; here's what that means
Among the new characters introduced in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" are the birds known as "porgs," one of which is shown here hitching a ride with Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon. - photo by Herb Scribner
SALT LAKE CITY Returning to a galaxy far, far away isnt so far away after all.

Director/producer J.J. Abrams told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Thursday night that the script for Star Wars: Episode IX is finished.

We have a script, which is a big deal for me, said Abrams, who added that shooting begins in July.

Abrams, who will direct the film, co-wrote the script with Chris Terrio, who has credits with the Ben Affleck films Argo and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

According to the tech news website Ars Technica, fans should still temper their expectations about this particular script draft, as scheduling changes and production issues can derail a first script.

Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was originally slated to direct the space epic, but he was fired by Lucasfilm. Abrams took the helm shortly after.

Abrams previously directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens and served as a producer for last year's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The contents of the new script aren't public knowledge. However, writer Brandon Katz of The Observer issued a public plea to Abrams about the films story. He asked Abrams to go all-in on light saber battles, avoid a marketing-based ending and not split up the characters.

And above all, please, please dont try to set up future saga films or spinoffs in Episode IX, Katz wrote. As has been well covered, Disney and Lucasfilm have some enormously ambitious plans for the Star Wars universe moving forward. The worst thing they could do is to use Episode IX as a springboard for those ideas in an attempt to keep fans on the hook for five more years. We saw how backdoor pilots to upcoming projects torpedoed Batman v Superman. Hopefully the studio will allow Abrams concluding entry to stand on its own.

The film is set to be released on Dec. 20, 2019.

In the meantime, Star Wars fans can check out Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will be a prequel film centered around Han Solo's early years. That films opens on May 25.
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