Disney and Lucasfilm announced that director Colin Trevorrow is out of Star Wars: Episode IX. This follows the recent decision to bring in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne for “script edits” to Trevorrow's previously completed script for the same. Rumors have been whispered for a while that this in fact could be coming down the pike, but up until this announcement, everyone in charge at LucasFilm either pooh-poohed it or refused to comment.
This is a big deal, especially on the heels of the disaster of the Star Wars Standalone, The Still As Of Yet Untitled Han Solo Joint, Now With Bonus Paul Bettany. As everyone is doubtlessly aware by now, even if they live in a galaxy far, far away, the directors of that, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were unceremoniously dumped with less than a month left to film. At the time, despite conflicting accounts, the issue seemed to boil down to Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan having one idea of the movie and Lord and Miller having another.
It seems that the same was already happening with Trevorrow, with reports from The Hollywood Reporter stating that the director's relationship with Kennedy had become “unmanageable,” and the response was to nip this in the bud before it became an issue twice in a row.
Here is Lucasfilm's statement:
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.
While some may worry that this is a sign of trouble in space paradise, in truth, this is probably the best thing that could have happened to Star Wars Episode IX: The One That Won't Have Leia. Trevorrow was initially brought aboard by Kennedy because of his indie cred as an up and comer, and he had already proved himself capable of not collapsing under big budget pressure with Jurassic World. But his… issues, shall we say… with female characters have been getting harder and harder to ignore.
While the ones in Jurassic were most comically silly – high heels in bad places, etc, his self-penned, self-produced, self-directed flop of an indie move The Book of Henry was a warning flag of LED-rotating colors. At the time, several reviewers said that the lack of taste level and sheer failure in story telling ability should be warning signs to Kennedy and company as to what this director could do to their franchise. And, that doesn't begin to address the way he treats female characters as complete idiots.
Since then, there have been rumblings that Lucasfilm was not happy with how things were going, anyway. That not even two months later, the franchise had a new writer in was a sign that they were troubled enough by the state of the project to bring in fresh blood. Reports are that Trevorrow had “multiple stabs” at writing it before Thorne was brought in.
Either way, with a now very large opening available at Lucasfilm, this is a great opportunity for Star Wars to make a splash. With fans clamoring louder and louder for a female director, or a director of color (or both) to get a crack at the franchise, perhaps this will be Disney's chance to listen, and bring aboard someone, anyone who isn't a white male.
Twitter, of course, had suggestions:
Perhaps they should take up J.J. Abrams' suggestion of Ava DuVernay? Or Ryan Coogler? They're already in the Disney fold, as it were. Chances are, though, they'll probably see if Rian Johnson or Tony Gilroy will be up for another round – or maybe give Ron Howard his own from the get-go.