Last week, we saw the departure of Colin Trevorrow from the director’s chair of Star Wars: Episode IX. This wasn’t shocking to everyone, but I was quite shocked and, honestly, a bit disappointed. I thought Trevorrow would make a great fit for the saga, but Lucasfilm clearly disagreed. I thought his firing was because he wanted to make some fresh creative decisions that didn’t fit with Lucasfilm’s ideal cookie-cutter film.
However, reports have since come out that provide the information that perhaps Trevorrow was being nothing more than an egotistical, in-over-his-head director who wouldn’t cooperate with the other people working on the project. Of course, those are merely rumors but those rumors do make me less annoyed with how Lucasfilm has been running their ship. I was still unsure of who they Lucas film could find for Episode IX that would be a good fit. I didn’t think it would be Rian Johnson (who is still working on the post-production of The Last Jedi). He simply doesn’t have the time to prep for a January shoot, the target for Episode IX. Today, word dropped that J.J. Abrams will be returning to close out the trilogy. I couldn’t be happier.
I had really never considered that Abrams could come back to direct Episode IX. He seemed adamant on wanting to take a step back and allow someone else to finish this trilogy. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Outside of Rian Johnson, no one knows this new trilogy better than Abrams. He’s been there from the start, and he did a fantastic job with The Force Awakens. Yes, many people do consider that film to be a mere rehash of A New Hope and are expecting Episode IX to, similarly, be a Return of the Jedi clone. That line of reasoning just doesn’t make sense to me. The Force Awakens was so much more than a rehash of the first Star Wars. It served as a reintroduction to the franchise after a 10-year hiatus. Abrams took something established fans were familiar with and made it his own. There was enough that was unique to that film that makes it more than just an A New Hope clone.
The fact Abrams knows these characters inside and out gives me a massive amount of relief. I love the character of Rey. While Abrams could have given another writer/director thoughts on where he thinks that character could, and should, go, it’s not the same as Abrams fully realizing his own vision for Rey’s future. Rey is his character. He did an absolutely incredible job creating one of the most endearing characters that this storied franchise has ever seen. Just the thought of him completing her story just feels right. Outside of Rey, he also has the opportunity to carry on the stories of Ben Solo, Finn, and Poe Dameron, a trio of characters he also had a hand in creating.
Many online have said that this is a safe choice, implying that that is somehow bad. I can see where that thought process is coming from, but when you look at the situation Lucasfilm is currently in, it is clear that Abrams is the right choice. They are low on time, and this isn’t a project that someone who is inexperienced with this kind of film can easily catch on to. Abrams has played this game before and, importantly, played it well. Yes, he’s a safe pick, but he’s also the best pick. Episode IX is not a film I want Lucasfilm to gamble on. The Han Solo movie is something I really could not care less about, so that’s why I am so indifferent to Ron Howard coming on to finish that film. However, with Episode IX it’s a story I truly care about and want to see done as well as it can be. This is the best-case scenario given the position we are in as Star Wars fans. Welcome back J.J.