Argo and Justice League screenwriter Chris Terrio is co-writing Star Wars Episode IX, replacing recent hiring Jack Thorne. It's been a dramatic week for the final film of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Last Tuesday, Colin Trevorrow left the project, leaving a massive director hole on the May 2019 release. He's now been replaced by J.J. Abrams, who will be both directing and writing the finale to the series he started with The Force Awakens. But that's not the only change.
A month ago, Jack Thorne, perhaps best known for writing the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stageplay, was brought on to rewrite Trevorrow's screenplay. It now appears he too has departed the project as Abrams' co-writer is someone new.
In the announcement that confirmed J.J.'s return, Lucasfilm also revealed that Chris Terrio will be co-writing the Star Wars 9 script. This means that in addition to getting a new filmmaker behind the camera, there's an entirely new creative team working on the screenplay.
Terrio won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Argo. He then followed Ben Affleck, that movie's star and director, to the DC Extended Universe: he punched up David Goyer's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice script and wrote the original Justice League screenplay based on a story treatment by himself and Snyder (which has now had rewrites care of Joss Whedon). The DCEU connection may unnerve some Star Wars fans - Warner Bros. shared universe has been incredibly divisive since it debuted in 2013 with Man of Steel. However, while he was involved with the scripting, the more controversial elements of the franchise tend to come from director Zack Snyder. Indeed, considering Argo, Terrio's a proven talent when it comes to layered stories. That said, it puts even more eyes and pressure on Justice League to perform in November.
The question still remains of what happened to Thorne. He's a semi-controversial figure in geek culture for his fan-fiction-esque Harry Potter take (which he worked on with creator J.K. Rowling), but it seems more likely a result of Trevorrow's departure; reports citing the director as "difficult" also raised story concerns, something that could necessitate a new writer. If so, that may mean Star Wars 9's development will be going back to basics with the new hirings.
Terrio will be co-writing with Abrams, who also shared scripting duties on The Force Awakens with Lawrence Kasdan. There the director was the learner, with the Empire and Jedi vet steering the way, but now returning for Episode IX he's the experienced master, which makes how his and Terrio's relationship will work intriguing.
Whatever the case, all this goes a long way to steadying the Star Wars ship. The firings of Lord and Miller from Han Solo and now Trevorrow's departure painted a Lucasfilm in turmoil, but the chosen replacements, while safe (Ron Howard is now on the smuggler prequel), at least promise solid films.
- 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: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019