After removing Colin Trevorrow from the helm of Star Wars: Episode IX, Disney has announced that its good friend J.J. Abrams will take over the film. Abrams, who restarted the franchise with The Force Awakens, will co-write Episode IX with Chris Terrio. “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,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. Abrams was seemingly done with Star Wars after finishing The Force Awakens, so this announcement comes as a surprise, though it is indicative of Lucasfilm’s new interest in making safe choices, directing-wise. Kennedy has previously replaced several newer Star Wars directors with old hands, as Ron Howard took over the Han Solo spinoff from Lego Movie directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, and Tony Gilroy got increasingly involved in Rogue One in re-shoots. The director switch-up has also pushed back Episode IX’s release date from May 24, 2019 to December 20, 2019.
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images