While Star Wars fans wait impatiently for the December 2015 premiere of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm is busy planning the larger future of their massive franchise. The lynchpin will be a so-called "sequel trilogy" that takes place in the core saga moviegoers know and love.
Much like how the three installments of the classic trilogy were directed by different filmmakers, these new movies will follow suit. Rian Johnson will follow Abrams' footsteps for May 2017's Episode VIII and despite rumors suggesting otherwise, Abrams has confirmed he will not return to helm Episode IX. Now, we know who will.
At the 2015 D23 Expo, Lucasfilm announced that Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow will be the one to call the shots on Episode IX. You may recall that before San Diego Comic-Con 2015, the director was said to be up for the job, and it turns out those rumors were true.
— Star Wars (@starwars) August 15, 2015
It will be interesting to see how fans react to this news. Though Jurassic World managed to score mostly positive reviews (read ours), it wasn't exactly the most acclaimed tentpole film from a storytelling perspective. Many moviegoers took issue with some of the narrative beats, such as the military's desire to implement trained raptors into the Army. Others felt that the characterization was a bit thin at times, which arguably made the proceedings feel a bit hollow.
Still, that doesn't mean Trevorrow is a poor choice for director. One of Jurassic World's strongest merits was its ability to operate as a nonstop thrill ride that obviously (based on the record breaking box office numbers) found a way to connect with mainstream audiences. Since exciting set pieces are a big part of any Star Wars movie, it's likely Trevorrow will be able to succeed in that regard. Plus, Jurassic World was his first foray into the world of big-budget filmmaking, so, ideally, he will be able to take the lessons he learned at the dinosaur theme park and improve as a director for his journey to a galaxy far, far away.
It is worth pointing out that the perceived shortcomings of Jurassic World could be attributed to the script (which Trevorrow did help co-write), and not so much Trevorrow's directing ability. It's unknown who will be responsible for penning the Episode IX screenplay, as Lucasfilm only said Trevorrow will be helming the project. Anything is possible at this juncture, so it's plausible that Lucasfilm will bring on a veteran scribe like Lawrence Kasdan to help iron out the story and aid the director in handling this massive undertaking. They seem to be on the right track so far, so it's best to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.
In short, Star Wars die hards may have hoped that someone with a deeper filmography was behind the camera for the sequel trilogy's conclusion, but Trevorrow may be capable of surprising us and surpassing expectations. After all, nobody had high hopes for Jurassic World months before its release this summer, and it went on to become one of the biggest films of all-time.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.