Updated: Star Wars 9 Director reportedly fired for being ‘difficult’
More alleged details concerning Colin Trevorrow’s departure from Star Wars: Episode IX have emerged, implying that the director was “difficult” to work with during the developmental process. Earlier this week, Lucasfilm made waves when they parted ways with the filmmaker, who had been attached to Episode IXfor more than two years. The official press release indicated the age-old “creative differences” were to blame for the split, but as in the curious case of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, many presumed there was more to the story. It didn’t take long for more information to come out.
Shortly after the announcement, reports stated the script was the biggest hurdle Star Wars 9 could not clear, as Trevorrow handed in multiple drafts that apparently did not satisfy the powers that be at Lucasfilm. It was said the Jurassic World helmsman’s relationship with Kathleen Kennedy had become “unmanageable,” giving the studio president no choice but to move on. Based on the latest word, Trevorrow’s personality played a large role in the newest Star Wars directorial shakeup.
According to Vulture, the record-shattering success of 2015’s Jurassic Worldseemed to have gone to Trevorrow’s head, and the newfound egotistical outlook coupled with The Book of Henry (Trevorrow’s film released earlier this year) failing critically and commercially didn’t sit well with Kennedy:
“During the making of Jurassic World, he focused a great deal of his creative energies on asserting his opinion. But because he had been personally hired by Spielberg, nobody could say, ‘You’re fired.’ Once that film went through the roof and he chose to do Henry, [Trevorrow] was unbearable. He had an egotistical point of view— and he was always asserting that. When the reviews for Book of Henry came out, there was immediately conjecture that Kathy was going to dump him because they weren’t thrilled with working with him anyway. He’s a difficult guy. He’s really, really, really confident. Let’s call it that.”
While another public breakup with a director so soon after the Lord and Miller debacle on the Han Solo anthology was hardly what Lucasfilm needed, it’s arguably better Kennedy pulled the plug now with roughly four months to go until the start of principal photography instead of sticking it out with someone she didn’t get along with. Nobody understands the pressure to get the new Star Warsmovies “right” for the fans more than Kennedy, and she has shown a willingness to make some tough calls in order to do what she feels is best for the longterm viability of what was a $4 billion acquisition for Disney. It’s becoming apparent Lucasfilm may need to rethink their hiring procedures as they look ahead to Obi-Wan and other future films so they avoid more dustups, but that problem sounds easily fixable on-paper, especially with what the studio has learned from their experiences so far.
Granted, Lucasfilm’s handling of their directors may prevent some filmmakers from lending their talents to the galaxy far, far away, but it’s hard to argue with the success Kennedy has had guiding the new era of Star Wars onscreen, and the allure of working in such a legendary franchise has drawn in Oscar caliber names like Ron Howard and possibly Stephen Daldry (who is said to be in early talks for the Obi-Wan film). It was admirable that Kennedy attempted to give up-and-comers a shot at playing in such an expansive sandbox, but for now, it seems like the studio’s vision for their prized possession gels better with experienced directors who know the drill and are open for collaboration. Kennedy, as Vulture‘s source states, is the “gatekeeper” of one of the most popular properties in the history of pop culture. She has a clear vision and – right or wrong – is seeing it through.
Umm… Did Mrs. Kennedy fire another director? Please, tell me something new… But what we know is what Disney published at the Star Wars official site as “A Statement Regarding Star Wars: Episode IX”:
“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.”
Colin Trevorrow was attached to helm Star Wars: Episode IX since summer 2015, but the rumors were swirling about something like this happening back when his writing parter left and then sooner after a new writer came aboard. After that fans began to notice Lucasfilm employees unfollowing Colin Trevorrow on social media.
Disney’s big screen revival of the galaxy far, far away got off to a rousing start in 2015 with the $2 billion success of The Force Awakens, but things haven’t been as smooth in the years since. Last year’s Rogue One (which was a critical and financial hit), went through extensive reshoots that saw filmmaker Tony Gilroy come in to oversee the additional photography. While that drama seemed like a big deal at the time, it was nothing compared to what the studio has endured this year.
Back in June, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were infamously fired from the Han Solo spinoff movie, four months into production. While all that was going down, Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry was an unmitigated critical and commercial disaster, causing some to wonder if his future with Star Wars would be in doubt. While Trevorrow remained very enthusiastic about the opportunity, it has now been revealed he is stepping down.
In the statement, it was said Lucasfilm and Trevorrow have mutually agreed to part ways since their “visions for the project differ.” They mentioned more information about Episode IX will be revealed soon. Currently, the plan is for the film to begin shooting in January 2018 so it can meet its previously scheduled May 2019 release date. The studio will have to move quickly to find a replacement to stay on track, but odds are they have some names lined up for the job. After all, Ron Howard swiftly replaced Lord and Miller on Han Solo, so it shouldn’t be a long search to find someone new for Episode IX.
During his time onboard, Trevorrow was extremely complimentary of Lucasfilm’s collaborative nature, promising fans a poignant conclusion to the trilogy (and possibly the saga). However, reports are suggesting it was an uneasy alliance. Per THR, script issues plagued Episode IX in development, which led to Jack Thorne being hired in August to rewrite the screenplay. Sources told the outlet Trevorrow’s relationship with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had become “unmanageable.” After the Han Solo fiasco, Kennedy apparently “tried to avoid this decision,” but the parties could not agree on the right direction for Star Wars 9. Fortunately, there are still five months left until principal photography, so it isn’t as dire a situation.
It will be interesting to see who Lucasfilm gets to step in, as an argument can be made recent developments may turn directors off from entering the Star Wars universe. One logical option on the table is Rian Johnson, who is coming off a great experience directing The Last Jedi. Earlier this year, the Looper helmsman said he would call the shots on another Star Wars film in a heartbeat, so there’s definite interest there. Given how much the cast loved Johnson’s screenplay and approach to the franchise, he seems like a natural fit to conclude the story he is continuing this holiday season.