Star Wars' Kathleen Kennedy Explains 'Tough Decision' To Replace Colin Trevorrow As Episode IX Director

Finn, Poe, and Chewie in The Rise of Skywalker

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It's almost hard to believe, but we're mere days away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams upcoming blockbuster will end the Skywalker Saga forever, and complete the story that George Lucas began back with A New Hope. Fans are eager to see what Abrams will do with his second installment in the franchise, but Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was originally set to helm Episode IX. Now Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy has spoken about the decision to part ways with Trevorrow.

A slew of directors have been fired from Star Wars movies lately, including Colin Trevorrow and Solo's original duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Trevorrow's exit from the Rise of Skywalker allowed him to return to the Jurassic World franchise, while J.J. Abrams joined to complete the trilogy he began with The Force Awakens. When asked what about Trevorrow's version of Episode IX didn't work, Kathleen Kennedy opened up about the split, saying:

Well, I wouldn’t say it didn’t work. Colin was at a huge disadvantage not having been a part of Force Awakens and in part of those early conversations because we had a general sense of where the story was going. Like any development process, it was only in the development that we’re looking at a first draft and realizing that it was perhaps heading in a direction that many of us didn’t feel was really quite where we wanted it to go. And we were on a schedule, as we often are with these movies, and had to make a tough decision as to whether or not we thought we could get there in the time or not. And as I said, Colin was at a disadvantage because he hadn’t been immersed in everything that we all had starting out with Episode VII.

That certainly clears things up. It looks like it was all about the story, with Lucasfilm on the hunt to find an appropriate ending to the franchise. Plus, they were on a bit of a time crunch.

Related: Colin Trevorrow Shuts Down Latest Rise Of Skywalker Rumors

Kathleen Kennedy's comments to io9 help shine a light on the big decision made behind the scenes of the Star Wars franchise. While fans see a finished product, each installment in the galaxy far, far away is made by a series of human choices. A director is an especially important piece to the puzzle, so Kennedy and company at Lucasfilm had to trust their gut with which filmmaker would craft the best overall conclusion.

Kathleen Kennedy does make a point about J.J. Abrams' history and immersion within the Star Wars franchise. He personally created the characters who occupy the sequel trilogy. What's more, he worked with all of the original actors at one point. And he was able to craft a story that seemed stronger by the powers that be.

Ahead of the release of The Rise of Skywalker, fans can re-watch the Skywalker Saga on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.

I do wonder what type of ideas Colin Trevorrow had for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He's being credited for having worked on the upcoming movie's story, so at least some of them likely made it into the movie. But there were also likely many other choices that made Kathleen Kennedy and company decide to find another choice. Trevorrow is donating his residuals from Episode IX to Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice in England.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive in theaters on December 20th, and Jurassic World 3 is expected to arrive June 11th 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.