With all the new pieces in play in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it sure seems like Lucasfilm is setting the Star Wars universe up to go somewhere special. Once Kathleen Kennedy and company made the decision to blow up the preexisting Star Wars canon, we watched firsthand as they began the process of stitching together a new continuity. There were Star Wars books explaining the events that followed Return of the Jedi, new television shows that wove together the old and new trilogies, and even video games fleshing out some of the new planets and species we’d seen in The Force Awakens.

That certainly made it seem like Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX would be meticulously planned down to the last detail, with director Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow on board to execute on the studio’s vision. Except that wasn’t exactly the case. In a recent Twitter exchange (via Heroic Hollywood), Johnson admitted that Lucasfilm didn’t have a story in place prior to his involvement in the franchise:

As Johnson notes, it’s not as if Lucasfilm didn’t have major story beats planned out somewhere; I’m sure you can find the identity of Rey’s parents on some secret hard drive somewhere in the Lucasfilm vaults. But without a solid storyline in place, it sounds like Johnson and Trevorrow were given a great deal of creative freedom in how they chose to move the story along. Lucasfilm seems to value the holistic approach that writer-directors can take with the franchise, which can be good or bad depending on who’s in charge  —  here’s looking at you, Colin  —  but fans should be pleased to discover that Johnson will have a great deal more creative control that we originally assumed. He’s not just filling in the blanks; he’s the one actually creating the crossword puzzle.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will hit theaters on December 15, 2017.

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