After Colin Trevorrow stepped down as director from Star Wars Episode IX, speculation spread around the internet with possible replacement candidates ranging from Guillermo Del Toro to Steven Spielberg (for the record, Alex Garland of Ex Machina fame would have been my choice). Well, today Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has announced the return of J.J Abrams to the franchise who will come on to close out the trilogy after kicking it off with The Force Awakens. In a written statement, Kennedy said:
“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,”
In many ways, this feels like a logical decision for Disney/Lucasfilm after the tumultuous relationship the Star Wars brand has had with directors recently. Trevorrow being the most recent departure; Phil Lord and Chris Miller also exited the upcoming Han Solo film (to be quickly replaced by Ron Howard), Josh Trank has left an untitled Star Wars spin-off and Tony Gilroy was brought in to oversee the completion of Rogue One.
Abrams represents a familiar face who has a history with the franchise and working with the Disney/Lucasfilm collective. Together, the pairing saw massive box office returns and positive response from fans and critics alike so reuniting the duo seems like a smart move on both sides. Of course, one of the chief criticisms of The Force Awakens was that it was too similar to A New Hope so here’s hoping that the second go around yields a fresher approach. At the rate that directors seem to be dropping out however it is hard not to read between the lines and assume that straying too far from the path has led to some friction between studio and director.
For what it’s worth, production on Episode VIII (The Last Jedi) has gone smoothly with that film set for release on December 15th, 2017 and Episode IX to follow currently slated for December 20th, 2019.
What do you think of the Abrams decision? Should Disney have gone in a different direction? Let us know via social media or in the comments below!