Coming just a couple months after Phil Lord and Chris Miller left/were fired from the Han Solo film, the Star Wars universe has experience another directorial shakeup. Colin Trevorrow, who is known for directing Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed, and was in place to direct Star Wars: Episode IX has left the project.
“Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on ‘Star Wars: Episode IX,’” Disney said in a statement. “Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon.”
The choice language here makes it sound as if this was more of a Disney and LucasFilm decision than a Trevorrow decision. Hot on the heels of a commercial and critical flop in his Book of Henry, which was pretty fairly lambasted for its poor direction, this isn’t entirely shocking, but it is still mildly surprising. Disney ditching two director roles in three months is not a good look and leads one to believe that the studio is allowing next to no control over the Star Wars projects.
Trevorrow made a very good movie with Safety Not Guaranteed and was thrust into the next big thing role. He took on the Jurassic World job and succeeded. It wasn’t an amazing movie, but it did what it needed to do. Entertain millions of people and make a shit load of money doing it is all a studio asks for. The direction wasn’t amazing but it showed he can put together a blockbuster. That aspect is probably why he was chosen for Episode IX. Disney/LucasFilm has a cashcow, a cultural phenomenon, and a beloved classic on its hands. With a workable blueprint (repeat the original trilogy?) they can pull the same thing they do with Marvel: Bring on directors, steer them into what they want, maintain a lot of creative control, rinse, repeat, don’t worry about the billion fans being disappointed and ruining one of the biggest franchises of all time.
He doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would cause problems a la Josh Trank, or go against the grain of the studio, like Lord and Miller did. I imagine they realized the task was a bit too big for him, saw he couldn’t exactly execute on a small time drama level, and didn’t want the finale of their epic trilogy (triple trilogy?) being blown. Better to get him out now before he theoretically messes up and move in someone with a sure hand.
It will be interesting to see who that sure hand is. Could they bring back JJ Abrams? Maybe they let Rian Johnson, who is directing the upcoming Last Jedi, hold on to the reins? Or is it someone else entirely? A seasoned veteran, like they brought in with Ron Howard? No matter who it is, the microscope is back on. Shaking up directors midway through the development process isn’t a big deal with something that is so studio controlled, but it offers a little bit less relaxation knowing it isn’t all smooth sailing for the final chapter of the series.