by Graham Pierrepoint
The Star Wars universe may be booming right now – with Episode VIII, The Last Jedi, due to hit the big screen this holiday season – but there have been a few hiccups and setbacks behind the scenes of a couple of movies in the franchise that some outlets have grown concerned about. Since Disney acquired the franchise and the rights to produce more movies in the universe some years ago, work has really pushed on to create additional stories in the main saga as well as spin-offs and prequels. We saw the first-ever cinematic Star Wars prequel last year in Rogue One, which was met with critical praise and a solid box office reception. With The Last Jedi seemingly looking at replicating the success of 2015’s The Force Awakens, news that a number of high profile staff on board Star Wars projects have been leaving production has seemed a little alarming.
Colin Trevorrow is the latest Star Wars casualty, with news recently having broken that he will no longer be helming Episode IX (which is as yet untitled). Lucasfilm announced that the departure of Trevorrow from the director’s chair was a mutual decision – meaning that there will likely be more to the Jurassic World director departing than official lines are letting on. Episode IX’s production has seemed a little manic in recent months according to media speculation, as rewrites and readjustments have been taking place – and it’s thought that Trevorrow and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy’s on-set working relationship may have contributed to the director’s exit.
Josh Trank, another director, had previously been linked to a Star Wars prequel but became unattached shortly afterwards. In similar news, The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller found themselves detached from the forthcoming Han Solo prequel to some concern. While Star Wars will surely continue to be the colossal franchise and beloved series it always has been, such flux in staff on several affiliated pictures suggests that working on board a project for the universe may not be as simple as some may assume it to be. After all, the pressure of bringing new instalments to such a long-standing franchise must be extreme – especially following negativity that was largely levelled at the prequel trilogy in recent years. The Force Awakens was received exceptionally well by critics and many fans alike two years ago – indicating that the Disney acquisition was pushing the franchise back in the right direction – but many are now hoping that the changes in personnel will not impact on the quality of future films.