So, real quickly, it appears J.J. Abrams is in the bag to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, stepping in for Collin Trevorrow who departed the project last week over “Creative differences”. The predominant rumor had been that Rian Johnson may stick around after The Last Jedi to help wrap up this trilogy, but nope, looks like J.J. Abrams is coming back to the fold. As a major fan of J.J. Abrams as a director (Super 8 is one of my favorite movies of 2011), I’m OK with this news but also kinda wishing we could have gotten someone a bit more bold and unexpected to help this forthcoming Star Wars movie.
Between the ousting of Trevorrow and Phil Lord & Chris Miller (the latter duo were let go from that Han Solo movie back in June), it’s pretty obvious Lucasfilm is having some trouble with its directors right now. While the high quality of the two new Star Wars movies and Kathleen Kennedy’s accomplishments as a producer don’t make me think this is a “The End Is Nigh” situation, it’s not a great look, no question about it. Getting Abrams back for Episode IX suggests Lucasfilm wants someone they can trust and that delivered the goods in the past instead of risking it all on newbie filmmakers. At least that means a talented guy like Abrams gets to come back into the fold, but it does mean another chance to bring in a fresh & heretofore heard creative voice into the Star Wars universe has been lost. Plus, the dire lack of female and/or PoC directors in this franchise is starting to become embarrassing, especially since the Star Wars movie that’s supposed to come out right after Episode IX (that Obi-Wan Kenobi movie) already has Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close direct Stephen Daldry onboard to helm.
Here’s to hoping J.J. Abrams does a good job with Episode IX (if he does anywhere near as good of a job with this one as he did with The Force Awakens, we should be in for a treat) and that Lucasfilm isn’t afraid to take risks on more unorthodox directorial choices in the future. I’ve thoroguhly enjoyed both of the new Star Wars movies we’ve gotten thus far and I’d hate for 2017’s Star Wars directorial turmoil (though, to be fair, Rian Johnson seems to be getting along swimmingly with the Lucasfilm brass) to be a sign of low quality Star Wars movies in our future. We’ve already got three (Four if you wanna count that Clone Wars movie from 2008) of those kinds of Star Wars movies to deal with for goodness sakes!