Colin Trevorrow is no longer directing Star Wars: Episode IX, Lucasfilm said Tuesday.
“Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX. 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,” read a Lucasfilm statement.
Rumors of Trevorrow’s departure have dogged the project since early June, weeks before the opening of The Book of Henry, his thriller that was panned by critics and failed at the box office.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that script issues have continued to be a sore spot throughout Episode IX‘s development, with Trevorrow having repeated stabs at multiple drafts. In August, Jack Thorne, the British scribe who wrote the upcoming Julia Roberts-Jacob Tremblay movie Wonder, was tapped to work on the script.
Sources say that the working relationship between Trevorrow and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy became unmanageable. Kennedy, who had already been through one director firing/replacement on the Han Solo spinoff movie, was not eager for a sequel and tried to avoid this decision.
In June, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the Han Solo stand-alone with only a few weeks left in principal photography. The two were later replaced by Ron Howard, who is finishing out production in London.
Rumors are already circulating as to possible replacements for Trevorrow. Rian Johnson, who is in post for The Last Jedi (Episode VIII), has been mentioned as a possibility, returning to the franchise. J.J. Abrams, who successfully helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has also emerged as a top contender.
Trevorrow’s departure now marks the fourth time directors have been replaced on a Star Wars project. Tony Gilroy took over from Gareth Edwards for massive reshoots on 2016’s Rogue One. And Josh Trank was taken off of a Star Wars anthology film after reports arose about the helmer’s disturbing behavior on the set of Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot. Like Trank’s, Trevorrow’s exit occurred before the movie started shooting.
Trevorrow first made waves with Sundance hit Safety Not Guaranteed. The indie sci-fi dramedy caught the attention of Steven Spielberg and Universal, who put Trevorrow at the helm of the Jurassic Park reboot, Jurassic World. The movie went on to gross a mammoth $1.6 billion at the global box office. After that success, the director was tapped to write and direct Episode IX, the supposed end to the Skywalker saga that would follow Johnson’s The Last Jedi (due out Dec. 15).
Trevorrow has several projects in various stages of development, including a Jurassic World follow-up, which he co-wrote and executive produced. Prior to getting Episode IX, Trevorrow was attached to direct Intelligent Life, a sci-fi thriller set up at Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment that he wrote with writing partner Derek Connolly. (Rebecca Thomas has since taken over as director.)
Back in July, THR spoke to Trevorrow at the Ischia Global Film and Music Fest and asked about the then-recent Lord and Miller exit from the Han Solo film. “Movies are very personal, and art is very personal, and for people to try to turn that into something that is salacious or something that will get clicks is frustrating and sad for me because I know that [movies] mean a lot to everyone involved,” he said. “And everybody involved in that movie is passionate about it and worked on it very hard and continues to work on it very hard.”