×

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

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.

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.

Popular on Variety

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

More Film

  • The Chambermaid Ventana Sur Fest Traveler

    Latin American Films in Oscar Race Espouse Progressive Causes

    Sex in all its permutations dominates this year’s crop of Latin American submissions, whether it be intersex issues in Venezuela’s “Being Impossible,” Bolivia’s homophobia in “Tu Me Manques,” or a transgender’s person’s plight in Panama’s “Everybody Changes.” “Retablo,” set in a mountaintop hamlet in Peru, is Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio’s nuanced portrait of a young indigenous teen [...]

  • Billy Dee William Star Wars the

    Billy Dee Williams on Getting Back Into Lando's Cape for 'The Rise of Skywalker'

    A long time ago (1980) in a galaxy far, far away (where a movie ticket cost about $5), Billy Dee Williams first played Lando Calrissian, the smooth-talking smuggler-turned-administrator of Cloud City in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Despite having about 15 minutes of total screen time in “Empire” and “Return of the Jedi,” the character stole [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    How Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins Pulled Off the One-Shot War Epic '1917'

    When cinematographer Roger Deakins opened the script for “1917,” he was greeted with the news that the entire, two-hour World War I epic would unfold as one continuous shot. “I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” Deakins remembers. “This is a gimmick.” Gimmick or not, it’s certainly the aspect of “1917” that’s generated the lion’s share of [...]

  • Parasite

    What Happens When a Best International Film Nominee Is Also a Best Picture Contender?

    There is, in the Oscar prognostication game, no such thing as a sure bet. But as close as we’re likely to get this year is Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” receiving South Korea’s first-ever best international film (formerly best foreign language film) Academy Award nomination. In 2018, Lee Chang-dong’s brilliant “Burning” was the first South Korean [...]

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto poses during a photo

    Oscar Winning Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Signs Publishing Deal With Kobalt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Oscar and Golden Globe-winning composer renowned for scores ranging from 1983’s “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” to 2015’s “The Revenant,” has signed on with Kobalt for a publishing deal that covers most of his catalogue around the world, with the exception of his native Japan. “Kobalt is an exciting company,” Sakamoto said in [...]

  • John Boyega

    John Boyega on if He'll Do More 'Star Wars': 'You Ain't Going to Disney Plus Me!'

    If you know anything about “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” it’s that the movie from director J.J. Abrams marks the official conclusion of the three-trilogy Skywalker Saga. But that does not necessarily mean that the characters created for the final trilogy — especially Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content