J.J. Abrams will replace Colin Trevorrow as the Director of Star Wars: Episode IX.
When the news broke that Colin Trevorrow had parted ways with the film, we wondered who would take over. Well, wonder no more! J.J. Abrams, director of The Force Awakens, will return to helm the (presumably) final entry to the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
“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 on Starwars.com.
The other film-maker strongly touted to take over from Trevorrow was The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson. However, he reportedly declined the job, leaving J.J. as favourite to finish the trilogy he started.
J.J. has possibly negotiated some breathing space for himself though with the release date for the film being pushed back from May 2019 to December 2019.
A Safe Bet
J.J. is seen as a safe bet by many to close off the trilogy. As the man who reintroduced Star Wars to a new generation, he is a steady, experienced hand, who knows what he’s getting himself into.
He received a lot of praise for his reboot of Star Trek in 2009, and proved that he was no one trick wonder with The Force Awakens. Which, for all intents and purposes, was a soft reboot itself.
Rebooting, or restarting the Star Wars franchise in a way that generally made people happy, is possibly one on the best achievements in recent film-making history. Having been given the keys to one of the most beloved cinematic universes of all time, J.J. Abrams made The Force Awakens one the most successful films of all time. It was a high pressure job, and Abrams (switching off his targeting computer) pulled it off!
Challenges to come
If there was a tougher job than kick-starting the Millennium Falcon again, it’ll be closing off the series. Let me tell you why. Let’s assume that The Last Jedi will be a success. Which, I think is another safe bet, because Rian Johnson wasn’t replaced during the filming. And, as far as we know, there haven’t been extensive re-shoots occurring. So surely the film has been thoroughly vetted by the Lucasfilm / Disney executives that are so fond of disposing of directors (or bringing in others to finish a film).
So with two of three films being successful, Abrams now has to finish the trilogy off strongly. But there’s an added complication: the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher last year (R.I.P you amazing person!).
Carrie had finished filming her scenes in The Last Jedi and Lucasfilm has to now find a way to end Leia’s story without the actress around. Her role in the Episode IX was reported to have been quite significant, providing a very large challenge for the franchise to work around.
So, once again, J.J. Abrams will take on one of the toughest gigs in Hollywood, navigating the tricky waters of Disney / Lucasfilm executives, the hype of Episode 9 and the ending of one the films most beloved characters.
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