After Colin Trevorrow was fired as director from the currently untitled Star Wars IX, the rumors spread far and wide as to who would helm the final installment. Would they let George Lucas take a shot? Would it be another up-and-comer? Would Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, finish out the trilogy? Instead, it is a familiar face – J.J. Abrams, who directed the well-received Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy released a statement about bring Abrams onto the project, saying “With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy.”
The film was reportedly going through rewrites at the hand of screenwriter Jack Thorne, of The Cursed Child infamy, but his role will likely be taken over by Abrams, for better most likely. Johnson was reportedly offered the position first but turned it down.
It is particularly troubling that this is the second director that LucasFilms has fired from a project. The first instance was the firing of directors was on the still (and disconcertingly) unnamed Han Solo solo film. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired just as filming was ending, for similar reasons Trevorrow got the boot – not getting along with Lucasfilm’s people. Ron Howard was brought on pretty quickly to fill in on edits and reshoots, but a change in director is usually a sign a film is going to struggle.
Abrams previous work on the Star Wars franchise might help him clear any plot holes or other obstacles in bringing this promising trilogy. Still, what could be happening at Lucasfilm that they’re turning out directors left and right? We may never know.
Star Wars IX is set to premiere in theaters sometime in 2019.