Disney and Lucasfilm Have Gone Back to J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode IX

The director of The Force Awakens is back to keep the ship steady.

Well, they tried to experiment. Disney and Lucasfilm wanted to see what younger, less experienced directors could do with the Star Wars saga, and they didn’t like what they saw. They replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with the ever-dependable Ron Howard on the upcoming young Han Solo movie, and now they’ve made an even safer choice with Episode IX. Yesterday, Lucasfilm confirmed that J.J. Abrams, director of The Force Awakens, will be back to write and direct 2019’s Episode IX.

The hiring of J.J. Abrams, which was first reported by Deadline before being confirmed by Lucasfilm, comes just a week after Lucasfilm parted ways with Colin Trevorrow. Trevorrow, who directed Jurassic World, was pegged as the director of Episode IX early on when Disney revived Star Wars, but creative differences between the two sides ended up being insurmountable.

J.J. Abrams brought Star Wars back with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which brought in billions of dollars at the box office — neither Sith nor Jedi could resist that kind of certainty. It’s too bad we won’t get to see fresher takes on the Star Wars franchise, but Disney sees Star Wars as a golden goose, so the tendency to err on the side of caution isn’t surprising.

With Abrams now both writing and directing, Episode IX has been pushed back a bit. Disney had intended on shifting Star Wars releases from December to May starting with Han Solo movie next year — while that one is still on track for May 25, 2018, Episode IX has now been moved from May 24, 2019 to December 20, 2019.