Long before Disney and LucasFilm officially announced Rian Johnson as the director of Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is hitting theaters in May 26, 2017, it was rumored that he would be directing both that film and Star Wars: Episode IX. That may not actually be the case, though, if a new rumor from Latino Review pans out. They claim that J.J. Abrams, who directed and co-wrote Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is now the frontrunner for the project.
When Disney and LucasFilm released the official PR for Star Wars: Episode VIII's production team last week, J.J. Abrams's name was suspecially absent, and only added later as a producer. This had many speculating that he'd be relatively hands free on the next two installments, but that is probably not true. And despite rumors that there were many disagreements between Disney and the director during production, they seem to want him back.
Latino Review claims that those who have seen the Star Wars: The Force Awakens footage are beyond impressed with what J.J. Abrams has done with this sequel. They go onto say that they've heard enough conversations about J.J. Abrams's return to the helm for the final part of this trilogy, that it looks like it will become a reality, verifying the information at least four different times with four completely different inside sources. The movie won't hit theaters until 2019, so Disney and LucasFilm still have some time to decide on who will take the helm, and may wait to see what Rian Johnson does with his sequel to make a decision. And we have to remember, many months went by between Rian Johnson being rumored for the job, and Disney officially announcing it, so we might not hear who is directing Star Wars: Episode IX until sometime late in 2016.