It's official: JJ Abrams will be returning to the Star Wars universe to direct and co-write Episode 9.
The filmmaker who revived the franchise with 2015's The Force Awakens (to the tune of $2 billion) will replace the outgoing Colin Trevorrow, who was reported to have departed over a personality clash with producer Kathleen Kennedy.
StarWars.com issued the following statement:
J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.
Abrams will be joined by screenwriter Chris Terrio, responsible for the Oscar-winning Argo screenplay and also superhero blockbuster Batman v Superman. The film is scheduled for release in 2019.
Kennedy herself 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."
Given Abrams' strong working relationship with both Disney and Lucasfilm, this would appear to get the troubled ninth episode back on track. It also puts him second only to George Lucas as the person to have directed the most Star Wars movies.
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