Big breaking news this morning. Disney and Lucasfilm have confirmed that J.J. Abrams, the true driving force behind launching the new Star Wars trilogy with 2015's The Force Awakens, will return to direct Star Wars 9. No story details have been released at this time. StarWars.com sent out the official Press Release. They offer this statement.
"J.J. Abrams to Write and Direct Star Wars: Episode IX. J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejoin, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm."
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was on hand to deliver the news. She didn't say much about the actual film itself or the firing of Colin Trevorrow. She did have this to say about J.J. Abrams taking over.
"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."
J.J. Abrams is credited with bringing Star Wars back to life as a viable franchise, with many praising his work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which he helped write as well. His co-writer on Star Wars 9, Chris Terri is best known for his work on DC movies such as Batman V Superman and Justice League. His inclusion will surely be a divisive one for fans who criticized those movies. He also collaborated with Ben Affleck on Oscar-Winning movie Argo.
Last week, Star Wars 9 director Colin Trevorrow was fired from the job by Disney and Lucasfilm. It was strongly rumored that Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rain Johnson would come into replace him. But just yesterday, Johnson said he wasn't interested in the job. And in all likelihood, he probably understand and knew that J.J. Abrams was coming back.
It is believed that Colin Trevorrow was fired from his position for being 'unmanageable'. And it is strongly rumored that he was often clashing with Kathleen Kennedy. Colin Trevorrow's ousting came only a few months after Chris Miller and Phil Lord were fired from Han Solo, a spin-off that follows the young adventures of the space pirate and his Wookie pal Chewbacca. In a similar scenario to what we're seeing today, director Ron Howard was announced as their replacement just a few days later.
Disney and Lucasfilm have had continuing directorial problems ever since they first bought Lucasfilm back in 2012. They found it incredibly difficult to lock down a director who even wanted to take on the Herculean task of directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it took a lot of convincing to get J.J. Abrams on board. The original screenwriter was eventually fired from that movie, marking the first in a long string of swinging doors, with the director of Rogue One sidelined during post-production, and the Boba Fett movie being shelved after its director Josh Trans was let go due to 'creative difference'.
It hasn't been revealed yet what kind of convincing it took to get J.J. Abrams back in the director's chair. It will be interesting to watch the process unfold. The cast has notoriously spoken out about the difficulties of working with JJ. Abrams, and the seriousness he brings to the set, as opposed to the lighthearted fun Rian Johnson implored on The Last Jedi. We're sure there will be more stories about the Star Wars 9 filmmaking process as things quickly move forward. Shooting will begin in early 2018 with the movie hitting theaters summer 2019.