J.J. Abrams to Replace Colin Trevorrow as Director of ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

J.J. Abrams Broadway
Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Disney and Lucasfilm are turning to a familiar face to take the helm of “Star Wars: Episode IX” following the exit of former director Colin Trevorrow.

J.J. Abrams, who helped reboot the franchise with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” has landed the directing job, Variety has learned. He will also co-write the film with Chris Terrio, according to a press release on StarWars.com.

“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,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in the release.

Disney and Lucasfilm moved quickly to replace Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard this summer while the film was still in production. The companies see Abrams as the perfect fit for “Episode IX,” given his proven track record in the “Star Wars” universe.

Related

Colin Trevorrow exits Star Wars

Colin Trevorrow Out as ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Director

Trevorrow and Disney could not see eye-to-eye in regards to the script of the last installment in this latest “Star Wars” trilogy, sources say, and decided to part ways before getting further along in pre-production. The plan was to begin production by February 2018, but even if Abrams agreed to come back as director, meeting that start point still seems like a challenge.

Sources say producers already giving talent a heads up that there was a possibility of the shoot pushing two to three months and that once a director was announced the timeline would then be focused on.

While “Force Awakens” broke multiple box office records and “Rogue One” was hit at the box office, Lucasfilm and Disney have still had an issue with directors, dating back to when Tony Gilroy had to step in to shoot a significant amount of footage for “Rogue One” before its release. The studio has also fired Josh Trank from a standalone “Star Wars” pic and moved on from Lord and Miller, even though the film was far from done shooting.

Abrams and Rian Johnson, who helmed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” had smooth shoots on their respective “Star Wars” productions. Sticking with someone who knows the story — and posed little trouble in production — would make sense. Abrams has also remained close to Kennedy since working on “The Force Awakens.”

Since directing “The Force Awakens,” Abrams has not committed to his next feature gig, mainly producing movies including the next untitled “Cloverfield” film that Julius Onah helmed.

Variety’s Reviews of Every ‘Star Wars’ Film

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 52

Leave a Reply

52 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. starwarsfannotintrestedinseeingEP8 says:

    JJ Abrams = Jar Jar Abrams. You get a movie with no story just copy cats better previous stories strung together in a incoherent with due to a total lack of vision. Thats true for ALL his movies. 789 will be remembered as worse than the prequels.. Fan critics of the prequels brought us to a new low.

  2. Charles says:

    Well I was happy trevorrow was being replaced…. however I’m just as thrilled to hear about abrams coming as I was with trevorow; much more so with Kathleen Kennedys remarks, in fact I stopped reading after her few words.
    Seems I’m back where I was from the start: there is only one (maybe two) ways (THAT I CAN THINK OF) that could possibly make the events of TFA somewhat Justifiable and the mass of fans are too casual and ignorant to possibly understand or appreciate it. SEE, this is why you need George Lucas.
    unless The Last Jedi is REALLY good, I won’t waste my money watching a Episode IX.

  3. loco73 says:

    To be honest, after “The Farce Awakens” aka “A New Hope 2.0″, my interest in this new trilogy wasn’t that high to begin with. I’ll go and watch Episode VIII -The Last Jedi” only to see what Rian Johnson has made of it. But with the return of Jar Jar Abrams at the helm of Episode IX, I’m even less enthusiastic, and whatever hopes I had for some strong conclusion had already been diminished when they announced Colin Trevorrow as director. For a split second there I thought they might actually try and find a more interesting choice. But they didn’t. Instead they went back to this guy. Funny enough I was on board with Lucasfilm when they jettisoned Josh Trank, Phil Lord and Chris Miller and then Colin Terevorrow. Not with bringing back Abrams.

    As of now, given how much I loved “Rogue One” (one of the best “Star Wars” movies I’ve had the pleasure to see), I am more excited about the standalone movies than the New Trilogy. Regardless of the trouble on the Han Solo production, I want to see that movie more than “The Last Jedi”…

  4. Alana says:

    Star Wars is so dead.

  5. Sensible Enough says:

    His nose looks like a penis. I wouldn’t want to work for a man with a penis nose.

  6. Jillian Herniea says:

    Why!!!!!!??? Do we need a remake of Return of the Jedi? How about we bring in a director who will give us something new and original, instead of cheap copy? I wonder how many times we’re going to hear, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

  7. Anna says:

    Star Wars is so dead.

  8. GEORGE WHERE ARE YOU!!??!!

  9. Why not bring back LUCAS! He would tell the story the way it truly was, not the distorted picture it became to support “safe” shareholders and betrayors like kennedy (no capital K for her)!

  10. Jimmy says:

    JJ Abrams is the right choice to bring this trilogy to a close. He is a great director and a great writer.

  11. loco73 says:

    Some years ago, Kirk Lazarus, Robert Downey Jr’s character in “Tropic Thunder” offered this tidbit of advice, “Never go full retard!”

    Lucasfilm just did.

  12. paully says:

    The safe choice, like Ron Howard..
    I was hoping for David Lynch.. On repeated viewings on pay cable “Dune” now looks much better than in 1984.. Star Wars needs to make the audience feel sick to its stomach and Lynch would do this..
    With so much ridding on SW9 though a large corporation will always play it safe.. Too bad..

  13. Michael Combs says:

    Seriously he really destroyed Star Trek!!!
    he really twisted it way out of control and it’s horrible!!! What were they thinking?? Now you fools at DISNEY ARE GOING TO LET HIM completely ruin The most loved movie series ever in American history…. almost every TV show and movie mentions Star Wars in one way or the other, it’s part of our American culture now. Why would you want to ruin it with this guy??
    Im sure that he will show that he does not have the understanding of that Star Wars universe that we love. we watch Star Wars and Buy Star Wars items and visit Disney to experience more Star Wars and you take it so lightly that’s you hire this fool? Hey DIsney, why didn’t you ask the millions Of fans what we wanted??? now you’re going to take the most desirable series and mess it all up with this clown! HE doesn’t have the vision that we Star Wars lovers have and enjoy. Remove him asap before it’s too late….

  14. Fernando says:

    I hope that is the last we hear of Trevorrow.

    How could he screw this up? Such a chance?

    He just needed to say ‘okay I agree’ a couple more times to the nice owners of this decades old IP and he could have had this project on his name.

    How stupid can you be?

  15. Reaction says:

    “The Force Awakens” was pretty good here and there…but Han Solo’s death scene (and the immediate aftermath) maddeningly lacked real emotional resonance. Audiences should have been bawling…but they weren’t when I saw it because the death of this beloved character/hero was treated like just another plot point in an already busy overflowing flick. Abrams can handle the technical demands of Star Wars film-making, sure…but can he learn to write and direct characters and situations with any real relatable human sensitivity? For the sake Ep.9, I hope so.

    • Fernando says:

      You don’t understand that scene: the audience shouldn’t be bawling at that point. It’s not a psychological drama, its blockbuster entertainment. People should walk out happy, not depressed and empty.

  16. James says:

    Movies directed by J.J. Abrams summed up: Constant motion of characters without logic or sense, rapid pacing without same sense or logic, approximate better movies that trade on nostalgia or star power, direct established franchises after the failure of a previous installment

  17. DougW says:

    “…even though the film was far from done shooting.” Wasn’t one of the shocking elements of firing Lord and Miller that they were so close to wrapping production?

  18. J.J. Abrams is a solid director but no more stalwart than the scripts he’s working from. He is a journeyman director in service to the producers who control the budget.

    Abrams is not an auteur nor would Kathleen Kennedy hire a dynamic filmmaker for essentially a safe commercial movie.

    Breaking box office records is predicated upon the taste and appeal for the current generation of filmgoers. (The original StarWars would not engender the current film base like that audience back-in-the-day.)

    Abrams will deliver no more than what the studio wants.

  19. Geoff says:

    Ugh… Who’s idea was it to bring in Chris Terrio?? I wish they could have brought Johnson on as at least cowriter. I hope there isn’t a character named Martha.

    • So what says:

      Agreed! How many black eyes does it take to stop bringing in the same old people? Hollywood is having it’s worst year in a generation, or longer, and they’re still not getting it.

  20. Jake Laser says:

    The Force Awakens was my favorite Star Wars since the first one! Everything that JJ Abrams touches is completely top notch. Super pumped he is directing it!

  21. Leon28 says:

    Do you get the feeling that everyone else they asked said no. Hmmmm….. well I guess Abramms can try to correct the mess he made of the first movie.

    • PS Chase says:

      He can try, but somehow I doubt he’ll pull it off – correcting the mess that is. I don’t dislike JJ, but it is weird that NO ONE ELSE can play in Kathleen Kennedys sandbox. Clearly Disney and Co. just want someone who will execute on their vision. That vision being a few more billion in the bank. Because the storytelling is not there. Website scores and box office gross don’t count – if the mass of people had taste that discerning, the entertainment industry wouldn’t be in the place it’s in – which is trying to be safe as possible via repetition, reboots, stereotypes, etc

    • Matt says:

      You mean this Mess?
      92% Rotten Tomatoes
      89% Audience score
      8.1 imdb score
      Highest domestic grossing film ever
      3rd highest grossing film ever.

      Yeah total mess he made….

      • Dynasty2 says:

        81 on Metacritic too. It’s mostly just the fans who are mad about changes in the movie and just because they go around the internet claiming it was a terribly made movie

      • Matt says:

        Couldn’t have said it any better myself cortrapac.

        I’m a large fan and very much enjoyed it. I find a small vocal minority whine about it being a mess and exaggerate quite a bit.

        Also, With that logic Leon no movie would ever have a bad review or low score on RT or IMDb because they are all paid for.

      • Cortrapac says:

        Movies are made for all not just those in the industry – I really don’t understand your statement. And not all fans hate it, I don’t although not my favourite Star Wars. Before you come up with a definition of a fan, I have seen very Star Wars upon first release, queued for hours before automated tickets, saved all pocket money to see them on a big screen. Personally another Director should have been chosen, but Force Awakens was not a mess.

      • Leon says:

        Fans hate it. Not studio lacky reviewers getting kick backs. Rotten tomatoes and IMDB is nothing to go by. But you don’t work in the industry & wouldn’t know this.

  22. Movieguy says:

    Whew, now I can rest easy it will be professionally done, but offer nothing new and exciting, while reminding me of more interesting, better movies.

    • Matt says:

      I’d argue that cloverfield was definitely something new and exciting, as was super 8, and mission impossible 3 revitalized a waning franchise.

      Not sure where this “jj is safe and not exciting” thing is coming from.

      • Unplanned says:

        He did not direct Cloverfield. If we count everything he has somehow been involved with we will be here all day. Super 8 was a Spielberg clone – i agree in regard to MI3.

      • Movieguy says:

        Super 8 was every Spielberg 80s sci-fi movie, with less emotion and a really messy, bad ending. He’s been operating off of the goodwill from Cloverfield for a long time. His Star Trek was as safe as it gets, TFA was even safer.

    • StanTMan says:

      Totally summed up all of JJ’s movies there in a nutshell.

  23. Danny says:

    WORST NEWS EVER. But it is Star Wars so only losers care.

    • Jacen says:

      The previous film did roughly $1.1 billion worldwide, and Force Awakens did roughly $2.1 billion. The Star Wars franchise is well-known to make more money from merchandising (perhaps three times as much) than its film output. That’s a lot of people with a lot of cash, which suggests that they are not losers at all. The only loser, then, would be you, Danny. So sorry.

    • Kevin Tran says:

      Stop whining and complaining Danny. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Star Wars fan or not. Two words – WHO CARES?

  24. Kevin Tran says:

    BEST. NEWS. EVER.

More Film News from Variety

Loading