Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars 9 will go down as one of the great unknowns of the Star Wars saga. Trevorrow was brought in as director of the film back in August 2015, with the aim of bringing the sequel trilogy to a triumphant close. However, his time with Lucasfilm came to an abrupt end in September 2017, after two years on the project.
The last few years have actually been quite a tumultuous time for Lucasfilm. Josh Trank's Boba Fett spinoff was abruptly dropped after the performance of Trank's Fantastic Four reboot; there are rumors Lucasfilm is still toying with the film, but nothing concrete has been heard for some time. In June 2017, Phil Lord and Chris Miller left Solo: A Star Wars Story, with Lucasfilm calling in Ron Howard to finish the movie. Shortly after that, Trevorrow exited Episode IX. He was replaced by J.J. Abrams, who is returning to finish the story he started back in 2015.
While Trevorrow's Episode IX never got out of the scripting stages, and he departed before the previous film - Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi - release, there was a concrete vision nailed down; a vision that, despite Lucasfilm's secrecy, has begun to leak out. Here's everything we know about Colin Trevorrow's scrapped Star Wars Episode IX.
This Page: How Star Wars 9 Changed During Trevorrow's Development
Colin Trevorrow Was Working On The Film Before The Force Awakens Released
Lucasfilm began pre-production on The Force Awakens back in October 2012, and by the time it released in late 2015 the studio was working on all three films in the sequel trilogy at once. Rian Johnson was hired as writer/director of The Last Jedi in 2014; Trevorrow was recruited just a year later, in August 2015.
Speaking at Star Wars Celebration 2016, Johnson admitted it was difficult working on The Last Jedi while The Force Awakens was still in production (he started filming while Episode VII was still in theaters). It seems highly likely Trevorrow faced the same problems; he started work on Episode IX before The Force Awakens had even released. Meanwhile, Lawrence Kasdan - writer of The Force Awakens - admitted the sequel trilogy's direction would be changed by Rian Johnson's decisions on The Last Jedi. The impact of Johnson's decisions would naturally ripple on into Episode IX.
Episode IX Could Have Been The End Of The Skywalker Saga
It's important to set the sequel trilogy in its proper context. At the same time as they began work on the sequels, Lucasfilm was also preparing to launch a series of experimental spinoff movies. The first of these was 2016's Rogue One, and Lucasfilm were eager to see how that movie performed. In November 2016, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy admitted they were toying with bringing an end to the Skywalker Saga, and focusing entirely on the spinoffs. She described an ongoing "conversation" in Lucasfilm, as the powers-that-be attempted to chart the future of the Star Wars franchise. The decisions were being made by a sort of Lucasfilm "brain trust," including Kennedy, Trevorrow, Johnson, Abrams, and Kasdan.
This decision would inevitably effect Trevorrow's plans for Episode IX; it could have been not just the end of the sequels, but the Saga. What was decided on ultimately is unclear - although Trevorrow did promise that the sequels would end on an "emotionally resonant" note but the fact discussions were happening gives a taste of the scope of the story.
Carrie Fisher's Death Changed The Plan
In December 2016, Carrie Fisher unexpectedly passed away aged just 60. Her death sent shockwaves through Star Wars fandom and left Lucasfilm in a complicated position. While her role in The Last Jedi was complete, Kathleen Kennedy has revealed that Lucasfilm intended Episode IX to feature Princess Leia in a major role: "[Fisher] thought IX would be her movie," she reflected, "and it would have been." The first question was whether or not to edit The Last Jedi in order to reduce Leia's presence, or even kill off the character. Lucasfilm eventually chose not to, meaning the issue would need to be resolved in Episode IX.
Up until this point, Trevorrow had been working on a version of Episode IX that centered heavily on Leia; The Last Jedi which set Leia up as either a new mentor figure for Rey, or as the overall leader and continuing inspiration of the Resistance. Once Lucasfilm committed to not using doubles or CGI to resurrect the character in Episode IX, the entire story needed redoing. According to Kennedy he "pretty much started over" with the script. This was obviously a hard task, doubly so as it now meant Star Wars 9 was moving ahead without any of the original cast.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019