As most were shocked to find out earlier this week, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was fired as the director for the final installment of the latest Star Wars trilogy. Discussion over why the director would’ve been removed from the director’s chair on Episode IX and who would replace him started almost immediately, with a few jokes about The Book Of Henry tossed in for good measure. While any reaction to the other films of Trevorrow isn’t likely to have had an effect on his standing with Lucasfilm, Vulture reached out to someone with reported knowledge of the situation to find out the real reason.
In short, Trevorrow’s tenure as Star Wars director seems to have due to disagreements with Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president and shepherd of the Star Wars brand after the Disney purchase. That much is clear based on what has been officially announced from Lucasfilm. But according to Vulture, Trevorrow’s departure is due to the director being allegedly difficult to work with:
“During the making of Jurassic World, he focused a great deal of his creative energies on asserting his opinion,” the executive explains. “But because he had been personally hired by Spielberg, nobody could say, ‘You’re fired.’ Once that film went through the roof and he chose to do Henry, [Trevorrow] was unbearable. He had an egotistical point of view— and he was always asserting that…
“When the reviews for Book of Henry came out, there was immediately conjecture that Kathy was going to dump him because they weren’t thrilled with working with him anyway,” the executive continues. “He’s a difficult guy. He’s really, really, really confident. Let’s call it that.”
The unnamed executive tells Vulture that Trevorrow had become “unmanageable” after the success of Jurassic World, allegedly making his dismissal an easier decision in the long run for those at Lucasfilm. That said, the statements made to Vulture are not official from Lucasfilm and the anonymous executive only had “direct knowledge of the productions on both The Book of Henry and Jurassic World” and not the future Star Wars film. While it could be the reason for the dismissal, its status as a definitive reason would be up for debate.
What shouldn’t be debated is Kathleen Kennedy’s influence over the direction of Star Wars and her track record up to this point. It seems like it would be easy to vilify her as the creativity killing studio executive, but she’s the boss and she has the experience to back that up. This quote at the end of Vulture’s piece puts Kennedy’s role into context:
“There’s one gatekeeper when it comes to Star Wars and it’s Kathleen Kennedy,” says a veteran movie producer, who has worked with the studio chief. “If you rub Kathleen Kennedy the wrong way — in any way — you’re out. You’re done. A lot of these young, new directors want to come in and say, ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ A lot of these guys — Lord and Miller, Colin Trevorrow — got very rich, very fast and believed a lot of their own hype. And they don’t want to play by the rules. They want to do shit differently. And Kathleen Kennedy isn’t going to f*ck around with that.”
While the tone sounds like something you’d read in Robert Evans’ autobiography, the basic idea seems to be that Star Wars is just something bigger than just any normal film. An independent project allows a director like Trevorrow more leeway creatively than when playing around with a franchise like Star Wars. At that point, it becomes similar to any other job and differences can lead to you being laid off. This keeps with Lucasfilm’s official statement and leaves the door open for Trevorrow going forward while also cleaning the slate for whoever is chosen to direct.