J.J. Abrams spent years bringing Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the screen as a labor of love, complete with loads of practical effects and a rigorous shooting schedule. But it was, at the time, a one-and-done: Abrams would launch the franchise, but it would be up to other directors, notably Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, to finish it up. Thanks to behind the scenes shakeups, however, Abrams is back.
Lucasfilm has announced that Abrams will be stepping in for Episode IX as writer and director, after Colin Trevorrow exited the movie amid rumors of clashing with Kathleen Kennedy. It’s particularly surprising because Abrams isn’t exactly slacking off; he’s producing the sixth Mission: Impossible movie, the third Cloverfield movie, and a WWII-set supernatural thriller titled Overlord. And if that weren’t enough, he’s got a few TV shows in the works too.
He’s also working, at least for now, on a deadline. Star Wars: Episode IX currently has a release date of Memorial Day 2019, which may be possible but also may be one heck of a rush considering all that Abrams has on his plate. Either Abrams will sprint for the finish line, or Star Wars will become a Christmas tradition again. We’ll find out as shooting progresses.