JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Episode IX will go in “unexpected” directions

Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley share their expectations for the final film in the modern trilogy

Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Lucasfilm, Disney, HF)

One of the biggest talking points around last year’s Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi was just how unexpected several of its plot points were, with director Rian Johnson seeming to pull the rug out from under viewers at every turn.

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Now, Johnson is hard at work on his own Star Wars trilogy and The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams is returning to helm 2019’s Episode IX – but according to one of the film’s stars that doesn’t mean we should expect things to calm down as the saga approaches its conclusion.

“What was brilliant [about The Last Jedi] was that it was unexpected,” Domnhall Gleeson, who plays First Order senior Officer General Hux told RadioTimes.com as part of a wide-ranging interview, relating particularly to the more comedic direction his character was taken in contrast to the more serious portrayal in The Force Awakens.

“And I’ve got a feeling that what JJ does may also be unexpected.

“I wasn’t expecting [Hux’s comedy] to be the way it went in VIII, at all. It really surprised me. And I’d say rather than played for laughs, it was written for laughs. We did it with an eye on the comic elements of it.”

Gleeson went on to clarify that he doesn’t know for sure what “unexpected” things we could, er, expect – he has yet to see a script for the new film, which starts filming in a few months – but he was eager to see what Abrams had lined up for him in particular

“I’ve got no idea because I haven’t read a script,” he said.

“I have no idea what direction he’ll take it in, or even if he’ll use me. So I’m hoping that if I’m in the next one, I’ll get to do [some more comedy].”

And Gleeson isn’t the only star of the series awaiting news, with co-star Daisy Ridley (who also acts alongside him in newly-released Beatrix Potter adaptation Peter Rabbit) also hoping to soon find out the fate of her character Rey. Personally, we still think she’s a secret robot.

“Is there a sequel? Oh my Goddddd!” Ridley joked. “I’ve heard nothing about it. I hopefully will soon.”

“It’s interesting, because after the first one came out we literally went straight into the next one, so there was no time to think about it. And now I’m like huh, I wonder what I’m going to be doing for six months…?”

“Because JJ’s writing it, I know that if I’m in it I’ll get to do something exciting,” Gleeson said. “So that would be nice.”

Gleeson went on to discuss Hux’s portrayal in The Last Jedi in more depth, which divided fans between those who enjoyed the character’s repeated humiliations and those who found the level of humour offputting.

Despite the debate, Gleeson says he’s very happy with how Hux turned out, suggesting the new take on the character embodied some of Johnson’s most creative decision-making.

“It worked in a completely different way to how it worked in the previous film, and I think that’s really cool,” Gleeson told us.

“It takes real imagination and confidence to see what happened before – I mean JJ knocked it out of the park with VII – then have the confidence to say ‘I’m not just going to copy what JJ did, I’m going to develop my own thing.’ I just thought that was fantastic.

“And not unexpected I suppose, or shouldn’t have been, because Rian is so distinctly his own filmmaker.”

Fingers crossed Gleeson gets some exciting new slapstick to enjoy when Episode IX is finally released in December 2019. If not, well, he can always remember the happier times of being slid around the floor by Andy Serkis in The Last Jedi.

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Peter Rabbit, starring Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley, is in UK cinemas now