J.J. Abrams on Episode IX, Billy Dee Williams, and the art of the dodge

Entertainment Tonight’s Ash “Porg Queen” Crossan managed to snag a few moments with Episode IX director J.J. Abrams at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday. Naturally, he’s low on specifics, but they are his first comments since wrap, so have at it:

Transcription under the cut.

On the wrap announcement photo and the mood on set:

“It was actually a pretty emotional thing. The cast and crew just did an unbelievable job. I can’t wait for you to see what we’ve got going for you.”

On if the reaction to The Last Jedi changed the approach to XI:

“No. I think that every movie is its own movie and obviously this is a trilogy. We brought to [IX] all the passion and hard work that we would have no matter what. I think the story speaks for itself. I really, truly can’t wait for you to see it.”

On directing Billy Dee Williams as Lando:

I’d met him once before and he was such a sweet guy, but I gotta tell you, I have such unbelievable respect for him. We had a great time. He was wonderful, he just had this aura about him. He’s really an incredible man and an incredible actor. “

How he hopes we’ll feel coming out of IX, and how it “stacks up next to Sith and Jedi” as a trilogy conclusion:

“You’ll have to determine that for yourself. I really can’t wait for you to see it, and there are a lot of words that we all hope you’ll feel. Obviously, the biggest and most important one is ‘satisfied.'”

Hints as to when we’re getting that title?

“No. But listen, it’s really fun talking to you.”

Oh, J.J.