Since taking over Star Wars, Disney has fired more directors than it’s kept

Colin Trevorrow, out as director.
Colin Trevorrow, out as director.
Image: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
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He was the chosen one—but not for very long.

Lucasfilm, the production house behind Star Wars, announced today that it has decided to “mutually” part ways with the director of the ninth installment of the Star Wars saga, Colin Trevorrow. Episode IX, still without a specific title, was expected to begin filming in January for a May 2019 release. No replacement for Trevorrow has yet been named.

“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,” the statement said.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Trevorrow and Lucasfilm had been fighting over the direction of the script, which likely was made more fraught following the death of Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa, in 2016. The critical panning and commercial failure of Trevorrow’s last film, The Book of Henry, could not have helped the director’s chances of staying on, either.

As alumni of the series, The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson have already been floated as possible replacements for Trevorrow. Another possibility is Ron Howard, who recently took over directorial duties on the forthcoming Han Solo standalone film—another entry that’s been plagued by production problems.

To date, Disney has fired more directors than it has kept since purchasing Lucasfilm and taking over the Star Wars franchise in 2009. Prior to Trevorrow, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (of The LEGO Movie fame) were replaced in June on the Han Solo spin-off film; Gareth Edwards was kicked out of the director’s chair for reshoots on Star War spinoff Rogue One; and Josh Trank was fired from another unreleased spinoff film, believed to have been about the bounty hunter Boba Fett, in 2015.

Thankfully for Rian Johnson, filming on The Last Jedi should now be finished, so there’s not much he can get fired for at this stage. In fact, he may find himself directing his second Star Wars film in as many years.