Despite declaring he was done with sequels, director J.J. Abrams is back to direct Star Wars: Episode IX.
According to the Lucasfilm statement on StarWars.com, Abrams will direct and co-write the script with Chris Terrio, a member of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice writing team and the screenwriter of Argo. In the statement, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy added, “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.”
His seemingly quick return ends a week of speculation in the wake of director Colin Trevorrow’s departure from the project. Many had hoped Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s Rian Johnson would stick around to finish the Sequel Trilogy. But over the weekend, he told reporters that he intended to be an “audience member” for the final film.
The continuing relationship with Abrams also pretty much finishes the Lucasfilm’s experiment in hiring up-and-coming filmmakers. Other than Abrams and Johnson’s saga pictures, each of the other modern Star Wars films featured behind the scenes struggles as directors like Josh Trank, Gareth Edwards and the 21 Jump Street team of Chris Miller and Phil Lord clashed with the upper management and the Star Wars house style.
And if there is one thing Abrams is comfortable with, it’s the look and feel of Star Wars. Despite his ease with that fictional universe, the director told Cinema Blend last year that he was done with sequels. “I do feel just conceptually, do I want to do another sequel? No. I feel like I’m, as a director, I was done doing that when I did the first Star Trek movies,” he said. However, the siren call of Star Wars compelled him to get involved for The Force Awakens and, apparently, has done so again for Episode IX.
Episode IX is currently scheduled for release on May 24th, 2019.