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J.J. Abrams is officially returning to Star Wars for Episode IX

Abrams will write and direct the final movie in the trilogy he started.

EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live at the Barker Hangar - Inside Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for EIF
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

A week after it was announced that director Colin Trevorrow was leaving Star Wars: Episode IX, Lucasfilm and Disney have announced that J.J. Abrams will replace Trevorrow to co-write and direct the last film in the sequel trilogy he kicked off with 2015’s Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

The announcement came via a statement posted on the official Star Wars site:

J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.

Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy added, “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.”

Abrams’s appointment feels like a move toward stability — Force Awakens was a critical hit and hauled in over $2 billion worldwide — after a period of behind-the-scenes turbulence for the most successful sci-fi franchise of all time: Trevorrow’s departure was the second high-profile Star Wars shakeup this summer, following the June replacement of Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard on the Han Solo prequel late into that film’s production.

Star Wars: Episode IX is still in the development stage and has not yet begun production. The movie was originally scheduled to be released in May of 2019, but has been moved to December 20, 2019.

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