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 IX for 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 World seemed 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 Wars movies "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.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019