Just a day after writer-director Rian Johnson expressed how he wasn’t “really thinking about” taking over as director of Star Wars IX in the wake of Colin Trevorrow‘s firing from the film, Lucasfilm announced that a director for the final chapter of the Skywalker story has been found. In a not-so-surprising turn, Lucasfilm is bringing back J.J. Abrams to co-write (with Chris Terrio) and direct Episode IX.
In a statement, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said:
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.
Star Wars fans have split on the move to bring Abrams back. While he is a popular genre director who has already proven himself understanding of the Star Wars universe, many naysayers cite his often-underwhelming endings and the fact that The Force Awakens was too similar to A New Hope as reasons for concern.
Lucasfilm also pushed back the release date of Star Wars IX from May 24, 2019 to December 20, 2019, which lines up with the December releases of the previous two films.