In a surprise announcement that may not seem all that surprising to some, director Colin Trevorrow has exited STAR WARS: EPISODE IX after his vision apparently no longer matched Lucasfilm’s vision for the trilogy capper.
The studio issued a statement: “Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX. Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon.”
Episode IX has been contending with script issues, as Lucasfilm brought in British scribe Jack Thorne (Wonder) as a fresh pair of eyes as recently as late July. Still, it must’ve been a long Labor Day weekend for Lucasfilm execs as this situation came to a head, especially coming in the wake of the director drama on its Star Wars spinoffs Rogue One and Han Solo.
The former project saw Tony Gilroy offer Gareth Edwards a helping hand, while the latter film found Ron Howard stepping in to replace Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Frankly, we wouldn’t put it past Lucasfilm to have offered Howard a shot at directing another movie in the Star Wars universe as a reward for rescuing Han Solo at a critical juncture.
Meanwhile, if Lucasfilm is so pleased with the job that Rian Johnson has supposedly done on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, why wouldn’t they let him simply continue the trilogy? Maybe they’ll even bring back J.J. Abrams, who hasn’t chosen his next directorial project yet.
Of course, Lucasfilm could surprise everyone and tap a new director altogether, be it Joe Johnston or, perhaps, a female filmmaker. After all, Kathleen Kennedy has made that historic mission a high priority for the studio, which has been content to hire one white male after another — the latest being Stephen Daldry, who is in talks to direct an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie.
One intriguing potential replacement would be Patty Jenkins, who still hasn’t closed her deal to direct Wonder Woman 2. It sure would be interesting if she handed that superhero sequel off to someone else to make Star Wars history as the franchise’s first female filmmaker. I don’t really see that happening, but it’s certainly odd that Warner Bros. hasn’t officially announced that Jenkins will return yet.
Regardless of Kennedy chooses for the high-profile job, questions are mounting about her hiring process. I’m not saying she’s in danger of losing her own job, because as long as these films make money, that’s all that matters. But all this hiring and firing is not a good look for Lucasfilm, and it does suggest that the company may have a larger problem to worry about.
Finally, those celebrating Trevorrow’s exit should take a long look in the mirror. I didn’t see The Book of Henry, which shouldn’t have any bearing on Episode IX, but I have been fired before, so I know how it feels. I’d advise the haters to resist the temptation to kick a guy while he’s down, especially when you don’t know who his replacement will be. After all, I hear Uwe Boll is available!
Star Wars: Episode IX remains on course to hit theaters on May 24, 2019… for now.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief