I’m just going to say it now (and please don’t @ me): it’s arguable that Lucasfilm is reaching DC Films levels of behind-the-scenes messiness. Just look at the track record. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” underwent massive reshoots which effectively saw Gareth Edwards put in the passenger seat for the back half of production. Phil Lord and Chris Miller abruptly bailed/were fired from the upcoming Han Solo movie after a creative clash with Lucasfilm executives, leading to Ron Howard coming in to finish the job. And now, “Star Wars: Episode IX” is suffering a major creative upset.
It was announced today that Colin Trevorrow has left the brewing sequel and finale to the new trilogy of “Star Wars” films. The official statement suggests another creative hiccup between the studio and filmmaker, but of course keeps details scarce (though Variety is saying “the split stemmed from differences on the script between Trevorrow and studio executives.” Here’s the official press release:
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.
It was just a couple of months ago that Trevorrow was pitching the reasons why he was a great fit for ‘Episode IX,’ something he probably felt the need to assert following the disastrous reception this spring to his widely panned indie, “The Book Of Henry.” In fact, he praised the process happening in the conference rooms at Lucasfilm.
“There tends to be a lot of assumptions made about control, but the reality is, it’s a collaboration,” Trevorrow said in July. “It’s not me locked in a room with the producers trying to get in and me saying, ‘I’m making my decisions!’ It is a much more collaborative process. I think that except for very, very rare circumstances, there is no such thing as final cut anymore. And I think the best-case scenario for any film is that the producer and the writer and the director are all on the same page and making the same movie.”
So, what happened? I would assume that perhaps some friction started to mount when hot U.K. writer Jack Thorne (“Skins,” “This Is England” ’86, ’88 and ’90, “The Last Panthers,” the “National Treasure” mini-series, “The Scouting Book for Boys”) was brought in to rewrite the script last month. Say what you will about collaboration, but sometimes there is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, and maybe Trevorrow felt the vision he had for ‘Episode IX’ was becoming too muddied. The death of Carrie Fisher — General Leia Organa was said to have a major role in the film originally — surely didn’t help when the writing process was totally upended.
Those who’ve had it in for him since “Jurassic World” will no doubt be pleased, but I don’t to like see a talented and passionate filmmaker get kicked around, and I personally think he would’ve done a fine job with ‘Episode IX.’ Meanwhile, it’s another black eye for Lucasfilm who are quickly having a serious problem in either hanging onto directors or course-correcting in huge ways at the worst moments.
No word yet on who will step in to replace Trevorrow, but there’s still time. The film doesn’t open until May 24, 2019 and production probably won’t start until early 2018.