The end of the new Star Wars trilogy is growing nearer every day, with the arrival of the ninth and final installment in 2019. After Colin Trevorrow’s exit from the project, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is back to helm Episode IX, which will indeed begin production this summer.

Rumors have abounded over when the still-untitled Episode IX will kick off filming, and it looks like it’ll keep to the schedule set up by The Force Awakens: film in the summer, post-production in the winter, with an ad campaign going into the following year. In a video Abrams recorded for Japan’s D23 Expo (via, Abrams told fans he is “hard at work co-writing Episode IX before directing it this summer.” Ron Howard also appears in the video, which features some new footage from the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story that we’ll hopefully get to see up online pretty soon.

When Lucasfilm announced Abrams’ return for Episode IX, Abrams said at first he had no intention of coming back, but it was just too good to pass up: “When the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in [The Force Awakens].”

Star Wars: Epixode IX will hit theaters December 20, 2019.

Gallery – Star Wars Easter Eggs in Other Movies and TV Shows: