Well, it’s happened again. For the third time in four films, a Star Wars director has been canned. Colin Trevorrow is out as director of Star Wars: Episode IX, with Lucasfilm citing the familiar “creative differences” line as the reason for his departure. We’ve seen this before, first with Josh Trank leaving a standalone Star Wars movie in 2015, then with Gareth Edwards being sidelined for reshoots by Tony Gilroy on Rogue One the next year, and then just a few months ago, when Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were jettisoned off the Han Solo movie in favor of Ron Howard.
Directing a Star Wars movie seems like a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. So with Trevorrow out, here are our picks on who is the most likely to take over as director on Episode IX.
This seems like the most likely choice. The Last Jedi director has gotten along better with Kathleen Kennedy and the rest of the Lucasfilm brass than any other filmmaker in the resurgent Star Wars universe, and even though his movie hasn’t premiered yet, his bosses are reportedly very pleased with it. He also has a clear production slate, and letting him take over would provide some cohesiveness to close out the trilogy.
Howard’s not the guy who’s going to put a unique spin on the franchise, he’s the steady hand who’s going to follow the company line. That’s what Lucasfilm wants, and if they like what he does with Han Solo, don’t be surprised if they call on his services again for Episode IX.
Abrams kicked off the new trilogy with The Force Awakens, and while he didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Lucasfilm, it’s hard to argue with his end result: the highest grossing film in American history. He has implied before that he’s done with Star Wars, but with no directing gigs on the horizon, there’s still a chance he could return to close out the trilogy he started.
Kasdan is the longtime writer of many Star Wars films, going back to Empire Strikes Back, and he’s still heavily involved with the franchise. It’s believed that his disagreements with Lord and Miller over his script led to their ouster from Han Solo, which suggests that he wields tremendous influence at Lucasfilm. So if Kennedy wants a particularly Star Warsy finish to the trilogy with no surprises, Kasdan could slide into the director’s chair.
Lucasfilm showed lots of faith in writer Gilroy, bringing him in to direct extensive reshoots on Rogue One when they didn’t like Edwards’ final cut. They ultimately liked what he did with that film, and with a clear production slate, the studio may want to see if he can work his magic again in an even larger capacity.
Bird is a Disney darling, and was the studio’s first choice to direct The Force Awakens. He ultimately turned it down to work on Tomorrowland (oops), and has always been in the back of everyone’s mind for a Star Wars movie ever since. However, his current involvement with The Incredibles 2 — due out next year — may take him out of the running.
Haha, just kidding, this will NEVER happen.
Star Wars: Episode IX is currently slated for a May, 2019 release, but depending on how long it takes to find a replacement director — and whether or not they’re looking to start over from scratch — that date could end up being pushed back.