The disturbance in the Force that occurred when Colin Trevorrow was pushed out as the director of “Star Wars: Episode IX” has already been calmed.
Lucasfilm, the studio behind this lucrative and long-running science-fiction franchise, said Tuesday that J.J. Abrams would return to be the director and a writer on the ninth installment in the central “Star Wars” saga.
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 that some fans had with a trilogy of prequels written and directed by the “Star Wars” creator George Lucas.
“The Force Awakens” sold more than $2 billion in tickets worldwide and was widely praised by critics. Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis wrote that Abrams was essentially “a love child” of Lucas and Steven Spielberg, “born to the blockbuster world they helped make.”
“At its best,” Dargis said, “that world taps into the wonder that can come with new visions and realms, sending you into raptures with earthly delights or those in galaxies far away.”
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 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 Dec. 15. -- NYT