As the dust settles from yet another director shakeup in the Star Wars franchise, Episode IX has a new director, two new writers, and a new release date, putting it into direct competition with Wonder Woman 2 in December 2019.
Returning to the director’s chair after giving Rian Johnson a turn with The Last Jedi is J.J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens. He will also be co-writing the script with the aid of Chris Terrio – the Oscar winning writer known for his work on Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and this November’s Justice League. This news drew myriad reactions from Star Wars fandom, with some loving the return of Abrams, but raising an eyebrow at Terrio due to the divisive reception to his DCEU films, while others expressed concern that Abrams was “too safe” of a choice but were excited by Terrio’s potentially fresh addition to the Star Wars universe.
As two creative minds that have previous involvement in popular franchises like Star Wars and the DCEU, it’s more than understandable that people would have opinions on their past work. J.J. Abrams, despite the criticisms against him, has already proven himself in the Star Wars franchise, guiding its return from (what many people thought was) its cinematic death to the tune of over $2 billion at the box office. There are some things he could improve on, and we’ve already covered what he needs to do differently for Episode IX, but what about Chris Terrio? Could the man that wrote Batman v Superman possibly create a Star Wars story that isn’t equally derided? Most certainly.
Not only does Terrio have what it takes to write a great Star Wars movie, but his writing could be the first to truly bridge the divide between what some fans love about the prequel lore, while still keeping it grounded in that ever-praised original trilogy style dialogue and world-building. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another defense of Batman v Superman. That has been done and you’re welcome to read that if you haven’t yet. Zack Snyder’s aggressive visual style is known for being polarizing with mainstream audiences, so it’s not a surprise that BvS saw a similar reception. There are also plenty of oft-cited gripes with the story, from “Martha!” to the complex plotting to character representation that is atypical to what most audiences are familiar with from previous comic book movies (despite a historical basis for the interpretations in the comics).
Separate him from the controversy of the DCEU and his work speaks for itself. When paired with a more well-respected director in Ben Affleck for Ago, he walked away with numerous nominations and award, including recognition by the WGA and the Academy Awards for best-adapted screenplay. This accomplishment on its own should put the rest of his work in context. Outside of this prestige, though, he excels in a few areas that should make any die-hard Star Wars fan salivate.
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