Disney issued a short statement on Tuesday about the departure without naming a successor.
“Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on ‘Star Wars: Episode IX,'” the statement said. “Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process, but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon.”
Sources indicated to Variety that the split stemmed from differences on the script between Trevorrow and studio executives. The film was expected to hit theaters on May 24, 2019, with production set to start in early 2018.
Disney brought on “Wonder” screenwriter Jack Thorne a month ago to do a polish on the latest draft of “Star Wars: Episode IX.” Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly had written the most recent version of the script at that point.
The studio announced in August of 2015 at its D23 Expo that it had selected Trevorrow to direct the finale of the trilogy. At that point, Trevorrow was coming off helming “Jurassic World” for Universal, which went on to earn an impressive $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office.
“This is not a job or an assignment,” Trevorrow said at the time of his 2015 hire. “It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists, and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had — a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention, and hope.”
The next film in the “Star Wars” franchise is coming on Dec. 15 when “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” directed by Rian Johnson, opens.
Trevorrow’s departure marks the second time in three months that Disney has replaced directors on a “Star Wars” movie. On June 20, the studio ousted the directing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the untitled “Star Wars” Han Solo spinoff — citing “creative differences” — and replaced the duo with Ron Howard with only a few weeks of production left.
The Han Solo movie, which is in post-production, will open on May 25. It’s the second “Star Wars” spinoff following last year’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Trevorrow broke out in 2012 with the sci-fi comedy-drama “Safety Not Guaranteed,” which led to him being hired to direct “Jurassic World.” He also helmed the family drama “The Book of Henry,” which made $4.3 million for Focus this summer in limited release.
When he was hired in 2015, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said, “Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw ‘Safety Not Guaranteed.’ The power of that film paired with the enormous success of ‘Jurassic World’ speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the ‘Star Wars’ universe.”
It’s the third time that Disney and Lucasfilm have parted ways with directors on “Star Wars” projects. Disney and Lucasfilm ousted “Fantastic Four” director Josh Trank in 2015 as the helmer of a standalone “Star Wars” spinoff.
Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion and announced at CinemaCon in 2013 that it would release “Star Wars” films in 2015, 2016, and 2017. J.J. Abrams directed the first installment, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which hauled more than $2 billion worldwide. Gareth Edwards helmed “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which grossed $1.06 billion worldwide.