LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colin Trevorrow will no longer be directing "Star Wars: Episode IX." Lucasfilm said Tuesday that the company and the director have mutually chosen to part ways citing differing visions for the project.
Trevorrow is best known for directing "Jurassic World" and has been working on the ninth installment of the space saga for some time. He was officially announced as the director of "Episode IX" in August of 2015 and has been co-writing the script as well. It is the final installment in the new "main" Star Wars trilogy that began with J.J. Abrams' "The Force Awakens" in 2015 and will continue this December with director Rian Johnson's "The Last Jedi."
The announcement gave no indication as to whether the shakeup would affect the film's previously set May 2019 release date. Production was expected to begin next year.
"Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process," the Lucasfilm statement read. "We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon."
Trevorrow had relocated to the U.K. in mid-2016 to focus on prepping the film.
"George (Lucas) came here to make 'Star Wars' and immerse himself in this place and got far away from Los Angeles, from Hollywood, really from America," Trevorrow told The Associated Press at the time. "I'm just all in. I'm 100 percent in the zone."
This is the latest upheaval in the Star Wars universe. Earlier this year the young Han Solo spinoff film parted ways with director Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and replaced them with Ron Howard deep into production. And in 2015, the company fired director Josh Trank from work on another Star Wars spinoff.
Extensive reshoots on the anthology film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" led to widespread speculation that director Gareth Edwards had been unofficially sidelined on that project as well.
Star Wars and film fans online responded to Trevorrow's departure with snarky jokes and celebration. Trevorrow had most recently directed the derided drama "The Book of Henry" and some worried about how he would handle the gargantuan task of directing a Star Wars film — even with the box office cred he scored with "Jurassic World," which made over $1.7 billion worldwide.
In addition to pressure from fans and stakeholders "Episode IX" also has the added responsibility of dealing with the unexpected death of Princess Leia actress Carrie Fisher late last year — after her work had been completed on "The Last Jedi." Leia will be given a "send-off" in "The Last Jedi," but was at one point intended to be a major part of the final film.
In the wake of the Trevorrow news, many online were quick to speculate who might take up the mantle. Some suggested it's time for the franchise to hire a female director, something Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has yet to do, while others went back to the archives and wondered whether David Lynch, who turned down directing "Return of the Jedi," might consider the job.
But perhaps the most suggested name was that of a man already well-acquainted with the force: Abrams. Could he be Star Wars' only hope?