The upcoming Star Wars will be written and directed by JJ Abrams after creative differences saw Colin Trevorrow quit the project.
Walt Disney has delayed the release of Star Wars: Episode IX to December 20, 2019 from its initial May 2019 release date after the writer and director was replaced.
Abrams launched Disney’s reboot of the Star Wars franchise in 2015’s box office hit The Force Awakens, which reunited original 1977 stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill and introduced a new generation of characters. The film made more than US$2 billion (AU$2.5 billion) at the global box office.
“With The Force Awakens, JJ delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.
Episode IX faced creative challenges after the sudden death of Fisher, who plays the franchise’s Princess Leia, last year. Her character, now called General Leia Organa, has a central role in the upcoming December film Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth instalment in the saga written and directed by Rian Johnson.
Episode IX was the second Star Wars project to lose a director this year. Disney said in June that filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller had left the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spin-off movie due to creative differences. They were replaced by Hollywood veteran Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of A Beautiful Mind.
Star Wars: Episode IX is part of Disney’s expanding slate of Star Wars films that continue George Lucas’ Skywalker saga as well as introducing standalone spin-off films set within the galaxy far, far away.
The ninth instalment of the saga will be released December 20, 2019.