Star Wars Episode IX has lost director Colin Trevorrow. This isn't tremendously surprising and not altogether bad news for all involved. Read the Lucasfilm press release, and get my take on it, below...
Here is the press release put out by Lucasfilm Ltd-
Ok, let's start at the top. Colin Trevorrow has had rough trot of it lately, what with negative reviews of his latest film, The Book of Henry, and leaving this project might just be the best thing for him.
When Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the Han Solo project and Book of Henry reviews started to roll in, I remember suggesting on the Talk Star Wars podcast that it might be in Colin's best interests to walk away from Star Wars now. That there was something going on at Lucasfilm that could work against him if he isn't careful. More than that I suggest that Lucasfilm would also struggle to "survive" more negative press following the Lord and Miller replacement. So Colin leaving now, before principal photography begins, is most likely a good thing for all involved.
I will discuss what I think has been going on at Lucasfilm and why I think this is the end of it in another post, but this decision, and we have no reason to believe at this stage that it wasn't Colin's decision, is a good one for the Jurassic World director.
As Lucasfilm Ltd has found its feet with these new movies, it has left a lot of hats on the ground. From writer Michael Arndt on The Force Awakens to Josh Trank, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, not to mention a major reshoot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that required another director in order to get theatre ready just last year. Not one of those creatives had to deal with the issues facing Star Wars Episode IX, which lost its principal star, Carrie Fisher in December. There is turmoil ahead the likes of which this franchise has never seen and unfortunately, that will most likely blow back onto the director.
In my opinion, Colin Trevorrow is wise to walk away from what will undoubtedly be a divisive movie. The loss of Carrie Fisher leaves a huge General Leia shaped hole in the project that requires a director who can inspire confidence from both the producers and the audience who are picking over every bit of news as it happens. Recently Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) came onto Episode IX to rewrite Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly's script, which, one has to believe, featured the character of Leia, quite heavily. Jack Thorne's hiring was essential for getting an Episode IX script locked in time for January's start date, but even this was starting to spin against both Colin and Lucasfilm.
What Star Wars needs now is time to breathe. Lucasfilm Ltd already has two incredible films under it's belt. They have one seemly positive production rolling into post and a very promising movie (The Last Jedi) heading into theatres following what seems like a drama free production. Kathleen Kennedy would do well now to look at the directors she has worked with previously when considering where to go next. Both J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson have windows in their schedules, but I suspect the decision has already been made about who will yell action in January.
So will the schedule take a hit? Possibly yes and no. I don't imagine the production date will change. I suspect too much is locked in terms of crew and locations at this stage, but the release date can certainly change and buy the creative team some time to breathe. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Ron Howard's Untitled Han Solo project benefitted from this news a little bit. Right now moving that film back from May 2018 to December 2018, might make the movie stronger, and then pushing Episode IX back to December 2019, will help everyone stop, take a deep breath and move forward in a meaningful way.
Right now, if I had to guess who would step into the big seat on Episode IX, it would be Rian Johnson. If I was forced to take a guess. But that, I'm sure will be revealed in due course...
Check back later for my take on what is going on at Lucasfilm Ltd that's lead to so many troubled productions.
Thank you for reading,