Guess who’s back. Back again. J.J’s back. Tell a friend.
Yes, J.J. Abrams is back in the director’s chair once again for the last instalment of the current Star Wars trilogy. After what has proven a tumultuous two weeks for Lucasfilm, the Corellian Corvette has been steadied by bringing back the man who reinvigorated the franchise in the first place.
For me, Abrams was one of only two people for the job – the other being current Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. The episodes are a connected story, and even though behemoth franchises like Star Wars are the creative babies of the studios, I still believe that it’s important to have a consistent eye behind the camera for all three parts. Having three (quite different) directors in the chair across these three parts was admirable for giving talent a chance but it was always going to be open to “creative differences”. Abrams started this story. He knows the universe he’s playing in and he knows the rules. He should be the one who knows how to finish it.
As for the reasons why Colin Trevorrow was let go, that’s an issue we could speculate on for months. Creatively, I think one of the biggest hurdles he faced was the tragic loss of Carrie Fisher barely a few months ago and the subsequent rewrites this created for Episode IX. When you remove a character from a story, it’s not just them that you lose. You have to change the entire structure of the film to compensate for their part in the plot, and maybe that’s where tensions arose. I had to face that very same challenge in my second feature script and I found it difficult enough to comprehend, even without the weight of studios and merchandise deadlines on my shoulders!
Whatever the reasoning, we now have two very fine filmmakers in Abrams and Chris Terrio in place to steer us back to galactic safety. As someone who is desperate to see the Star Wars universe endure (for reasons that will probably need another blog post to explain!), this is a very reassuring move both for Episode IX itself and the franchise as a whole.
Now, where’s that Last Jedi trailer I’ve been waiting so patiently for…