J.J. Abrams returning to write, direct Star Wars: Episode IX; film moves to December 2019

The circle is now complete… Returning to the universe he rebooted in 2015, J.J. Abrams will write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX.

The announcement that Abrams will close out the film trilogy he opened comes a week after news that Colin Trevorrow had parted ways with Lucasfilm in the endeavor.

“With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in a statement.

Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio (Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League).

Episode VIII — The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, debuts Dec. 15. Episode IX was set for a May 2019 release, but after the director announcement, Lucasfilm confirmed it will be delayed seven months, to December 2019.

Johnson, along with Abrams, were among the filmmakers speculated to take Trevorrow’s place; the Last Jedi director quickly distanced himself from the rumors, however. (There was even an online petition to bring Saga creator George Lucas out of Star Wars retirement to direct IX.)

An untitled Han Solo standalone film is due to be released May 25, 2018. Originally directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Ron Howard has taken up the reins of that project after another, earlier Lucasfilm shakeup.

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