Lucasfilm is circling back to J.J. Abrams, who helped relaunch the Star Wars movie franchise, to complete the upcoming ninth movie in the main series.
The studio announced Tuesday that Abrams, who helmed 2015’s popular The Force Awakens, will write and direct the as-yet-unnamed Star Wars: Episode IX. He will share writing duties with Chris Terrio (Argo).
“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,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.
Last week, the company announced that director Colin Trevorrow, best known for directing Jurassic World, had parted from the project. He had been working on Episode IX, including co-writing the script, since being named in August 2015. The film had been slated for a May 2019 release.
The project faced extra pressure after the unexpected death late last year of actress Carrie Fisher, who reprised her role as Princess Leia/General Organa in the new films and had been expected to play a prominent role in Episode IX.
Trevorrow’s exit was the latest surprising Lucasfilm departure. Earlier this year, the company parted with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who had been deep into producing the Han Solo spinoff film, ultimately replacing them with Ron Howard.
The next installment of the “main” Star Wars story arrives in theatres in December with director Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.