Big news coming out of the Star Wars universe: Colin Trevorrow will no longer be directing Episode IX. Based on a statement from Disney, it sounds like a classic case of creative differences: “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.” Earlier this year, Trevorrow’s third movie, The Book of Henry, debuted to almost universal condemnation, with Vulture critic Emily Yoshida saying, “It does not suffice to call The Book of Henry bad; it’s nonfunctional, so poorly conceived from the ground up as to slip out of the grasp of the usual standards one applies to narrative film. It might be admirable if it wasn’t such torture to watch.”
A bad movie getting horrifying feedback immediately had fans nervous that Trevorrow was the wrong man for the Episode IX job. The director, who has also been working on the script for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, admitted that watching Book of Henry take such a drubbing was “a little heartbreaking” while Vulture speculated about whether or not the poor performance would get him evicted from a galaxy far, far away. The answer at the time was basically “no, it wouldn’t, but maybe it could,” and as recently as mid-July, Trevorrow was still insisting that he was the right director to bring Episode IX to life, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “Not only did I grow up on these stories, like all of us did, [but] I think that the values of Star Wars are values that I hold very close and very dear in my life,” adding that he was focused on “making something that will be deeply emotionally resonant and satisfying for people all around the world. And I think about it a lot.”
Sources tell THR, “Script issues have continued to be the continuing sore spot with Episode IX’s development with Trevorrow having had repeated stabs at multiple drafts,” which lines up with the fact that screenwriter Jack Thorne was brought on in August to take a pass at the script. Co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the Han Solo spinoff back in June near the end of filming, and veteran Ron Howard was brought on to complete the project. (He has since enthusiastically Instagramed from set.) Those two were reportedly fired after clashing with Disney and LucasFilm throughout the project, so it sounds like they could have a lot to talk about over a long drink with Trevorrow.