J. J. Abrams, the director of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," is returning to the franchise he helped revise by being behind the camera on "Star Wars: Episode IX."
On the official "Star Wars" website, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy wrote that "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."
While Abrams also takes over the writing role vacated by departing "Episode IX" director Colin Trevorrow, the site also says that screenwriter Chris Terrio will take a crack at revising the script. Terrio is best known for co-writing the Academy Award-winning "Argo," which suggests that extensive rewrites may be in the offing, since it was only in August that Trevorrow's version was rewritten by screenwriter Jack Thorne. There may have been deeper script issues than previously reported.
Trevorrow's firing was part of a growing problem that the "Star Wars" franchise has had with retaining directors. Josh Trank was fired from an unspecified "Star Wars" spinoff in 2015, due to alleged difficulties he had working with the studio; Gareth Edwards, though ultimately kept on as the director of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," saw additional scenes for his film shot by Tony Gilroy in 2016; and earlier this year Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from a Han Solo standalone film and ultimately replaced with Ron Howard.
Despite these obstacles, the "Star Wars" juggernaut continues chugging ahead at a healthy pace. In addition to "Episode VIII" (due out on December 15) and Episode IX (due out in 2019), there is also the impending Han Solo standalone film and an Obi Wan Kenobi standalone, which was announced last month.