Lucasfilm has reveleaed that J.J. Abrams would return to be the director and a writer on Star Wars: Episode IX, after Colin Trevorrow had been pushed out as the director. The film is planned for release in 2019 but has been pushed back seven months, from May to December, according to Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm’s owner.
Abrams was previously the director and a writer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the 2015 blockbuster that revived the Star Wars film franchise after a decade of dormancy and the dissatisfaction some fans had with a trilogy of prequels written and directed by the Star Wars creator George Lucas.
It was announced last week that Trevorrow, whose previous films include Jurassic World and The Book of Henry, was stepping aside from Episode IX. Lucasfilm said in a statement at the time that “we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ.”
The studio’s president, Kathleen Kennedy, has not hesitated to make sweeping creative changes on new Star Wars films. In June, Philip Lord and Christopher Miller were pushed out as the directors of a movie about the young Han Solo, and replaced by Ron Howard.
Kennedy said in a statement on Tuesday, “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.”
Abrams will share writing duties on Episode IX with Chris Terrio, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Argo, whose screenwriting credits also include the comic-book adaptations Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
The eighth Star Wars saga film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, will be released on December 15 2017.