The Star Wars 9 news just keeps on coming. Things got heated last week when Lucasfilm revealed that they were parting ways with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who had been hired to direct the final installment of this new trilogy two years ago. Now, it's up to J.J. Abrams, the man behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who was just announced as his replacement. So when will he begin filming on Star Wars 9? According to a new report, June 2018.
Variety reported on the release date change, which shifted from May 24, 2019, to December 20, 2019. In that report, they revealed that Disney and Lucasfilm have decided to shift production from February 2018 to June 2018. That shift seems to line up quite well with the release date delay and should give J.J. Abrams plenty of time to prep and not force him to rush things. It sounds like Abrams and newly hired co-writer Chris Terrio (Justice League) are going to be starting over, so they have to write a new script in addition to everything else that goes into pre-production on a massive movie like Star Wars 9 is going to be.
Interestingly enough, just before Lucasfilm announced that J.J. Abrams is going to direct the next Star Wars sequel and co-write with Chris Terrio, they had hired Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) to rewrite the script that Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connelly had been working on. It looks like Thorne's tenure with the project was short lived. All of that said, it will be interesting to see how the writing credits work out when the movie actually arrives.
The production delay and the release date change should both be encouraging moves. For one, Disney and Lucasfilm aren't stubbornly sticking to a release schedule. After having to fire Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street) from the untitled Han Solo movie and just weeks later having to get rid of Colin Trevorrow, they can't afford to have another issue. They need things on Star Wars 9 to go smoothly, which is likely why they hired J.J. Abrams in the first place.
While we haven't seen The Last Jedi yet, which arrives in theaters on December 15, production has gone swimmingly under the direction of Rian Johnson. That means that Johnson and J.J. Abrams are the only two directors in the Disney era of Star Wars to make a movie without any significant clashes with Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm. Not only that, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens managed to successfully relaunch the franchise and grossed more than $2 billion worldwide, so they have every reason to think Abrams is the right guy for the job at this point. Even though filming isn't starting for nine months, he is probably going to get to work very soon, if he hasn't already.