It was announced today that J.J. Abrams would return to the director’s chair for the final installment in the current Star Wars trilogy. The news comes a week after it was announced that previous director, Colin Trevorrow, had stepped down from the project.
If the thought of J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars sounds familiar, it should. Abrams directed, produced, and helped write 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Directing duties for the upcoming film in the sequel trilogy had gone to Rogue One director Rian Johnson, while Abrams stepped back into the producer role.
It’s not entirely clear yet why Trevorrow stepped down from the project, but various sources throughout Hollywood seemed to indicate differences in the script.
Prior to being pegged for Episode IX, Trevorrow’s biggest film had been the 2015 mega-hit Jurassic World which was then followed up by the critically-panned Book of Henry. Trevorrow had hinted at a shift of tone for his foray into the multi-billion dollar franchise, but this philosophy did not appear to match the vision execs at Disney had.
This is not the first time, however, that the House of Mouse has chosen to ditch a director. Back in June, Ron Howard stepped in after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from their directing duties on the upcoming Han Solo movie for what seems to be the same reason Trevorrow was released (although Trev doesn’t appear to be making a sci-fi fantasy comedy as was the case with Miller and Lord).
So what does the hiring of Abrams mean for the franchise? Fan reaction seems to be split. Much of the praise being given in part to having semi-consistency behind the camera and the quality of the director. However, much of the ire seems to be for the same reason. One of the major criticisms against The Force Awakens was how it seemed to be a retread of A New Hope rather than something new to the franchise. Does J.J. plan on giving the fans a new experience to cap off the latest trilogy, or should we expect to see Starkiller Base 2 whenever the first trailer drops?
-Aaron Radcliff (Sept. 12, 2017)