Abrams in, Trevorrow out, here’s what happened. 

The final entry in the current Star Wars trilogy has undergone a lot of behind-the-scene changes over the past few days, so let’s break it down. 

Last week, it was announced on the official Star Wars website that Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) will no longer direct Star Wars: Episode IX

“Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX,” notes the official press release. “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.”

One week later, a new director was found. Well, not really new. 

J.J. Abrams, who co-wrote and directed Episode VII: The Force Awakens, will now direct Episode IX (announced via the official website as well)

“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.

Abrams and Kennedy

Also revealed was that Abrams is writing the film’s script, along with Chris Terrio, who has co-written Batman v Superman: Yawn of Justice, and Justice League

Finally, Episode IX’s release date has been pushed to reflect the pre-production changes. The film will no longer release on May 24, 2019. It is now set for December 20, 2019. 

We love J.J. and his work on The Force Awakens, but these changes just beg the question: What’s going on at Lucasfilm? Why are so many directors leaving Star Wars movies? Phil Lord and Chris Miller for the Han Solo movie, Gareth Edwards wasn’t involved with Rogue One‘s reshoots, and now Trevorrow’s dismissal. 

Seriously, what’s going on?

While it’s tough to make general assumptions, let’s first look at specifically what happened with Trevorrow. A recent report from Vulture (via an industry insider) cites that Trevorrow had an inflated ego after his work on Jurassic World, and would often clash with Lucasfilm, specifically Kennedy, on a number of creative choices, especially with the film’s script. 

Trevorrow directing Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World

This paired with the recent failure of Trevorrow’s bizarre indie film The Book of Henry (seriously, this is movie is nuts, watch this), caused Lucasfilm to fire the director and look for someone they can trust (or control). 

It wouldn’t be too big a stretch to say Phil Lord and Chris Miller probably faced similar pushback from Kennedy when working on Han Solo. Perhaps Edwards too. 

“There’s one gatekeeper when it comes to Star Wars and it’s Kathleen Kennedy,” explained another insider to Vulture. “If you rub Kathleen Kennedy the wrong way — in any way — you’re out. You’re done. A lot of these young, new directors want to come in and say, ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ A lot of these guys — Lord and Miller, Colin Trevorrow — got very rich, very fast and believed a lot of their own hype. And they don’t want to play by the rules. They want to do shit differently. And Kathleen Kennedy isn’t going to f around with that.”

Whether it be Disney, Lucasfilm or Kennedy, directing a Star Wars movie comes with many hurdles and is probably extremely frustrating. However, it’s important to note we live in an age of a clearer window to the behind-the-scenes process of making a movie. These changes happen all the time, and it shouldn’t discourages fans. Hopefully this all for the best, and this new trilogy set in a galaxy far, far away will end on a high note. 

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

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