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One week after it was announced that Colin Trevorrow would not be directing the ninth Star Wars movie, Disney and Lucasfilm have named a replacement. The franchise will once again be steered by J.J. Abrams, who wrote and directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which helped relaunch the iconic franchise. Star Wars: Episode IX is currently scheduled to be released on Memorial Day 2019.
“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,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.
Trevorrow’s relationship with Kennedy was reportedly at the heart of the decision to fire him from the film, with reports saying the two clashed amidst multiple script re-writes. Kennedy is five years into her tenure at Lucasfilm and according to Vulture, the eight time Oscar winner isn’t keen on cocky young filmmakers looking to experiment with a valuable piece of property such as the Star Wars franchise.
Prior to firing Trevorrow, Kennedy made some noise in June when she fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were co-directing the Han Solo spinoff prequel. Veteran filmmaker Ron Howard was brought in to pick up where Lord and Miller left off.
“If you rub Kathleen Kennedy the wrong way — in any way — you’re out,” said a producer who had worked with Kennedy. “You’re done. A lot of these young, new directors want to come in and say, ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ A lot of these guys — Lord and Miller, Colin Trevorrow — got very rich, very fast and believed a lot of their own hype. And they don’t want to play by the rules. They want to do shit differently. And Kathleen Kennedy isn’t going to fuck around with that.”
Abrams had originally only intended to write and direct The Force Awakens and then provide guidance on future films as needed. His plate is already pretty full, as he’s producing an upcoming Mission: Impossible movie and a third Cloverfield movie, as well as a Overlord, a supernatural thriller set during World War II.
Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth movie in the franchise, was rumored to be in the running to work on the ninth movie. It remains to be seen if he’ll have any involvement with Episode IX. Abrams will be writing the movie with Chris Terrio.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled to be released in December 2017.