After parting ways with Colin Trevorrow last week (click here for more details), Lucasfilm moved with their typical lightning speed to replace directors and the new boss is same as the old boss. The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson was first offered the film, but declined stating he’d not be averse to doing a future Star Wars film though. Lucasfilm then went back to the man who kicked off the Star Wars renaissance and JJ Abrams will return to direct and write a new script (with Chris Terrerio) for Star Wars Episode IX. Since they’re now starting from scratch, the film has been delayed for a Christmas 2019 release.
I’m mixed on this. I would have greatly preferred Rian Johnson, though I love Episode VII, Abrams is a much riskier bet closing something than he is starting something. All through his career, Abrams has begun amazing things and then handed off the reins to someone else, from TV (Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Westworld) to rebooting film franchises like Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, and-of course-Star Wars. I can’t actually find in his filmography an instance when he did a finale. Whether this is the last episode or not, it does close a chapter, and Abrams is also writing the film. Rian Johnson’s original script for Episode IX had been tinkered with already, and then the reason for Trevorrow being fired was that he went off the reservation with the script and Lucasfilm had just experienced that on Han Solo and wasn’t about to repeat that headache. So now they’re scrapping the whole thing and while that puts the film back at Christmas where it belongs, it’s unsettling. Episode VII is an amazing film and still my second favorite of the Saga. Abrams knows these characters, he helped created them, and he’s a safe bet. But is he too safe? Do you guys share some of my nervousness about JJ’s return (he never really left as he was a producer on Episode VIII) or is it just me? DISCUSS!!!
J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.
“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,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.
The characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Episode IX can next be seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, opening in theaters on December 15. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper), the film continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcoming back cast members Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Domhnall Gleeson as Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Rose.
Star Wars: Episode IX is set to debut in theaters December 20, 2019.