John Wilson, Lucasfilm
This file image released by Lucasfilm shows Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." After two consecutive record-breaking years at the domestic box office, 2017 was the year the momentum slowed, even with the late adrenaline boost of a new “Star Wars” film.

SALT LAKE CITY — “Star Wars: Episode IX” will take place one year following the events of “The Last Jedi,” according to multiple reports.

What’s going on: A leaked photo of Empire magazine’s 2019 movie preview showed John Boyega (Finn) saying that the film will pick up one year after the events of “The Last Jedi.”

“John Boyega has confirmed the film takes place roughly one year after the events of 'The Last Jedi,'” the section says.

Story: As you might recall, “Last Jedi” ended with the Resistance and the Republic in shambles with the First Order, now led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), at full force. But heroes Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) ended the film with hope for how they can battle back against their enemies after Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) sacrifice saved their lives.

So what does this mean?: Picking up a year later can mean many things for the franchise.

According to Collider, the movie could begin with the Resistance already rebuilt.

  • “If that film is all about ‘the spark’ that will lead to a rebirth of the resistance, then you can’t go right back in and see them trying to rebuild the resistance,” according to Collider. “While that’s a good story for a comic book or a novel, a film has to jump right into the action, and it’s better for the story if the resistance is already built so it can take on the First Order.”

Big things for Rey: The gap between “Last Jedi” and “Episode IX” could mean that Rey will develop her Jedi skills to a point where she’s more confident with her abilities, according to Esquire.

  • “If you'll remember, after the events of ‘Empire Strikes Back,’ there was somewhere between (two-to-five) years between the movies. It took the Empire a few years to build the new Death Star after it was destroyed in ‘A New Hope.’ And when we see Luke Skywalker in the beginning of ‘Return of the Jedi,’ he's spent enough time to hone his skills with a lightsaber and the Force. He's become a confident and capable Jedi master, and it's possible that we might see Rey's powers develop in a similar way between ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘Star Wars IX.’”

Leia’s future: As I wrote about before, Lucasfilm plans to use unused footage from “The Force Awakens” to show General Leia Organa because Carrie Fisher passed away before production began on “Episode IX.”

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  • “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said director JJ Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in 'Episode IX' by using unseen footage we shot together in 'Episode VII.'”
  • The year gap could make it easier for “Episode IX” to handle Leia’s future. As Esquire notes, it’s possible Leia could die within the year gap and the unused footage could be flashback images of her helping the Resistance.

Release date: The film will hit theaters Dec. 20, 2019.