When Rian Johnson was officially announced as the Star Wars: Episode 8 director last week, one name was conspicuously absent from the initial press release: J.J. Abrams. Among the producers listed — Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman (Looper) and Johnson — Abrams was nowhere to be found. An updated release was later sent with Abrams noted as an Executive Producer, but it only fueled the flames that J.J. Abrams may be one-and-done with the Star Wars franchise. Not so fast.

Latino Review is reporting that, after watching an early cut of Star Wars: Episode 7, Disney and Abrams have begun early talks about the director returning for Star Wars: Episode 9, to close out the new trilogy. Whether Abrams wants to actually return remains to be seen.

There have been lots of reports of a behind-the-scenes power struggle between Abrams and Lucasfilm. Abrams was able to flex his considerable muscle on the Star Trek franchise when he took over the films at Paramount, but Disney and Lucasfilm don't seem to be as willing to acquiesce to all of Abrams’ demands. We've heard that Abrams E.P. credit on Star Wars: Episode 8 is largely a vanity credit at best, like how Jon Favreau is still an Executive Producer on the Avengers movies. But, how much of this is Abrams simply wanting a break from the Star Wars universe and how much is a sign of a larger rift between the two?

If there is, or was, a rift, it could be mending enough to make Abrams’ return to the franchise more likely than we had thought. It would also allow him to creatively refresh and shoot another smaller, non-Star Wars film while Johnson is hard at work on Episode 8. And, Abrams could use this to leverage more control over the new era of Star Wars films.

A lot can change over the course of four years. Star Wars: Episode 7 is still 275 days away. But, if these reports are true, Abrams will be able to start the new Star Wars trilogy and end it as well.

Star Wars: Episode 9 opens in theaters in 2019.

Check Out This Amazing Star Wars Art From Designer Ralph McQuarrie

More From 95 Rock