JJ Abrams Officially Returns to Direct Star Wars: Episode IX

JJ Abrams Star WarsBy Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)

Lucasfilm hasn’t had a very good track record when it comes to directors since the company was bought by Disney. The first sign of trouble was when Josh Trank stepped down from directing an anthology film, which was then followed by issues plaguing Rogue One with Tony Gilroy writing and effectively co-directing the reshoots with Gareth Edwards. More recently, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy replaced Chris Miller and Phil Lord with Ron Howard on the untitled Han Solo film, and — even more recently — fired Colin Trevorrow from Star Wars: Episode IX.

With that last firing, speculation ramped up quickly as to who would replace Trevorrow and helm Star Wars: Episode IX. Lucasfilm has officially announced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams is indeed returning to helm the sequel. He was even rumored to helm the film back in spring 2015. Here’s what Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement:

“With The Force Awakens, JJ delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy.”

As far as choices go, this one makes a lot of sense. A lot of people, myself included, thought that The Force Awakens was a return to form for Star Wars, and possibly the best film in the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back. Another reason why this may not be too much of a surprise was that after Abrams read Rian Johnson’s screenplay for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he wished he was returning to direct it.

All of the issues with directors suggests that Lucasfilm gambled with bringing in new perspectives to Star Wars but failed. It seems that new, upcoming directors may have been straying too far from what the studio wanted their films to be. With the recent hiring of Howard and now Abrams, it feels like Lucasfilm has changed hiring tactics, and is relying more on established directors who play ball.

Along with Abrams returning to direct, Lucasfilm has also announced that Chris Terrio (who wrote Argo and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) will be writing the screenplay — which is a very curious piece of news as well. Jack Thorne was announced to be rewriting the Episode IX screenplay just last month suggesting Abrams and Terrio have pitched a very different idea of what the third film in the sequel trilogy should be. This wouldn’t be the first time Abrams has done that, as he tossed out the original screenplay for The Force Awakens written by Michael Arndt.

Considering how similar The Force Awakens was to A New Hope, you have to wonder how similar this film will be to Return of the Jedi. Can you say Starkiller Base II?

Star Wars: Episode IX has been pushed from its May release date, and is now scheduled to open on December 20, 2019, per Lucasfilm, just like The Last Jedi, and according to reports (because it wasn’t officially scheduled in May), The Force Awakens.

About Danny Santos

Freelance writer, filmmaker, actor, musician, and visual artist. Writing online professionally for 4-plus years and has produced and performed in over a dozen films and webseries. He has also been everything from a social media consultant to managing a JUNO award winning musician.