In a shocking development, filmmaker Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) will no longer direct Star Wars: Episode IX. Trevorrow had been attached to the project since Aug. 2015.
In a statement posted to StarWars.com, Lucasfilm announced that the company and Trevorrow "have mutually chosen to part ways" on Episode IX, citing the classic Hollywood explanation that their "visions for the project differ." No replacement director was announced. Representatives for Trevorrow and Disney did not immediately respond to questions seeking further comment. A representative for Lucasfilm directed BuzzFeed News to the original statement.
Trevorrow's exit from Episode IX comes after Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the untitled Han Solo prequel in June, after much of that film had already been shot, also citing creative differences. (They were ultimately replaced by veteran director Ron Howard, who is still overseeing reshoots on the film.)
That same month, Trevorrow's follow-up film to Jurassic World, The Book of Henry, opened in limited release to some of the most punishingly negative reviews of the year — several of which openly questioned whether Trevorrow was fit to helm a movie of Episode IX's scale and stature. And in August, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Trevorrow's screenplay for Episode IX with his writing partner Derek Connolly was getting a rewrite from British writer Jack Thorne (Skins).
What ultimately led to Trevorrow's exit, however, remains unclear. Lucasfilm and Disney, meanwhile, still have to release Star Wars: The Last Jedi (on Dec. 15) and the Han Solo prequel (scheduled for May 25, 2018).
It was announced on StarWars.com that J.J. Abrams, who directed 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will replace Trevorrow as the writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. “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,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.
The movie's release date was pushed back to Dec. 20, 2019.
(The headline of this post has been updated to reflect the news.)