Well, that didn’t take long. It was only last week that director Colin Trevorrow was relieved of duties on 2019’s Star Wars film, Episode IX, and already his successor has been announced, in the shape of The Force Awakens’ JJ Abrams.
This is the film that will, we understand, close this new trilogy of movies and it’s due to start production next year for a 20 December 2019 release date (it was originally set for May 2019, but that was changed yesterday, presumably to give Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio more time to work on the script). But why are JJ Abrams and Episode IX such a good match? Here are five reasons why...
He’s a team player
Whatever the reasons for the departures of Han Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and original Episode IX helmsman Colin Trevorrow, it’s clear that they weren’t seeing eye-to-eye with the person at Lucasfilm who really matters – its President, Kathleen Kennedy.
In contrast, JJ Abrams and Kennedy have a relationship that stretches back three decades ever since Abrams first met Kennedy (then a successful movie producer) as a 16-year-old student filmmaker. She obviously trusts him and he is clearly a director who is comfortable with the kind of creative input coming down from on high.
He understands this universe
What could be better than the man who helped birth this new iteration of the Star Wars universe putting it to bed? Abrams is a director who certainly has a lot of the spirit of George Lucas running through his veins, so it feels only right for him to be the primary author of this trilogy.
While Rian Johnson appears to be a director who will take the next Star Wars film into strange and new territory, maybe the series needs someone more traditional, more Lucas-like, to close it.
He’s a great salesperson
More than any other blockbuster, a Star Wars director will be plastered all over the media as the release date approaches. Not all directors are as at-home in a television studio as JJ Abrams is. He’s funny, he’s quick and his fanboy-like enthusiasm for this universe, these stories, is incredibly infectious.
He helped create these characters
All those new characters – Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, BB-8, General Hux… – they were all conceived by JJ Abrams (alongside his co-writer on The Force Awakens, Lawrence Kasdan), so surely it’s up to him to conclude their stories. He understands these characters and, though we don’t know for sure, it’s possible that he had their futures in mind when he was first writing The Force Awakens.
It could be that, when he had his stab at writing Episode IX, Colin Trevorrow was working from notes laid down by JJ Abrams a few years previous. With Abrams back in the hot seat, perhaps these characters will get the send-off that was always intended for them.
We know he can deliver the goods
The big difference between Colin Trevorrow and JJ Abrams are the lengths of their CVs. At the time of his hiring, Trevorrow only had two movies under his belt – the quirky indie fave Safety Not Guaranteed and one big-budget smasheroo, Jurassic World (he’s since followed it up with the critically derided The Book of Henry).
In contrast, Episode IX will be Abrams’ sixth feature film as a director (plus there’s a helluva lot of TV mixed in with that) and his 10th as writer. In terms of experience, both on the studio floor and in the Lucasfilm board rooms, Abrams knows his stuff.
So what do you think of Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe? Let us know @Cineworld
The NEXT Star Wars film, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, opens at Cineworld on 15th December.