by Graham Pierrepoint
Recent movie news has been somewhat awash regarding the chops and changes that have been taking place with regard to future movies in Disney’s Star Wars franchise. A number of directing staff have been let go from their posts or have parted ways with production teams in moves that many have been speculating about for some time – and with Episode IX (as yet untitled) having released Colin Trevorrow in recent days, talk of his replacement has been rather fervent. It’s perhaps surprising, too, that a replacement has been found so quickly – and it’s someone most moviegoers will be all too familiar with.
JJ Abrams is back on board for Episode IX – it’s official – having helmed Episode VII, The Force Awakens, to critical and major fan acclaim two years ago. The Star Trek franchise director is regarded as one of the most recognizable and trusted names in modern sci-fi – and with Disney bringing Abrams back on board for another installment, it’s a move that many will assume to be either genius or simply playing it safe. Episode VIII, The Last Jedi, has been directed by Rian Johnson in his stead – and we’ll get to see that installment later this holiday season.
Lucasfilm confirmed the news, with Abrams reportedly taking on co-writing duties with Chris Terrio. Terrio was responsible for helping to form the award-winning Argo – and he’s behind the screenplay for the forthcoming Justice League movie, as well as having been the chief writer for last year’s Batman V Superman – which was, unfortunately, met with considerable critical dissonance.
Abrams’ return to Star Wars is a little surprising – as it was thought that the new trilogy of movies in the canon would be taken on by a different director at each turn – but the director of The Force Awakens is a considerably safe pair of hands. Trevorrow - the director behind 2015’s barnstorming success Jurassic World – allegedly departed Episode IX due to differing ‘creative visions’. The movie has since brought on screenwriter Jack Thorne – perhaps most famous for bringing Harry Potter to the stage – to supply considerable rewriting.
While Abrams may have been the safest option to save both face and the outcome of the new trilogy, it remains to be seen what will happen with other directors lined up for future Star Wars movies – will this be a curse easily outlived?