After ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is released this December, J.J. Abrams will hand the reins of the new trilogy over to someone else. Though he will remain involved as a producer and consultant for ‘Episode VIII’ and beyond, Abrams will pass the baton to ‘Looper’ and ‘Brick’ writer-director Rian Johnson. Now he and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy offer up an update on Johnson’s progress.

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the duo responsible for relaunching the ‘Star Wars’ universe with ‘Episode VII’ discussed their excitement for Johnson to take over the galaxy far, far away once Abrams is finished. The ‘Force Awakens’ filmmaker shared his thoughts by declaring that Johnson’s work will go above and beyond what he has done with the first chapter of the story:

“It’s a thrill to see [Johnson] take things and elevate them beyond what we had imagined at the time.”

Kennedy went on to say that ‘Episode VIII’ is practically all in Johnson’s hands. Though she, Abrams, and a number of other storytellers involved in this process has mapped out where the new trilogy is going, Johnson has started moving full steam ahead with it:

“We know where we’re going, but only in the broadest sense. When Rian came in and started writing his script, he started from scratch, other than knowing what we had done in Episode VII and projecting out where it was going. He then sat down and put pen to paper, and it’s 100 percent him.”

But before we get ahead of ourselves, we have a long way to go until we get to ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII.’ Abrams revealed that he is still editing and refining ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ ahead of its release later this year. Then Gareth Edwards’ intergalactic heist film ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ hits theaters a year later. So while Rian Johnson toils away at his upcoming ‘Star Wars’ film (in the best possible way), share your thoughts and theories about how he’ll do taking the place of J.J. Abrams or what he’ll cover in his movie in the comments below.