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What you need to know for 09/26/2017

Lucasfilm drops its director for 2019 'Star Wars' film

Lucasfilm drops its director for 2019 'Star Wars' film

Ouster draped in Hollywood’s usual public relations niceties
Lucasfilm drops its director for 2019 'Star Wars' film
Colin Trevorrow in Santa Monica, Calif., on May 20, 2015.
Photographer: Emily Berl/The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Ejecting directors from its movie galaxy is starting to become a regular occurrence for Lucasfilm, which said on Tuesday that Colin Trevorrow would no longer direct the ninth chapter in the “Star Wars” saga.

Trevorrow’s departure follows another Lucasfilm shake-up. In June, Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm’s president, fired Chris Miller and Phil Lord as directors of a coming Han Solo spinoff movie — even though filming had already started — and hired Ron Howard as their replacement.

As with Lord and Miller, best known for “The Lego Movie” and “22 Jump Street,” the ouster of Trevorrow was draped in Hollywood’s usual public relations niceties.

“Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways,” a statement posted on StarWars.com said. “Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process, but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ.”

The statement concluded, “We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon.”

Trevorrow declined to comment Tuesday. No replacement was named.

Kennedy and the Walt Disney Co., which owns Lucasfilm, have repeatedly shown that they will do whatever it takes — ego bruising, be darned — to steer the “Star Wars” franchise as they see best. Creative control for directors extends only so far when the stakes are this high; “Star Wars” generates billions of dollars in revenue through movie tickets, DVDs, video games and merchandise sales. Massive “Star Wars” attractions are under construction at multiple Disney theme parks.

The seventh “Star Wars” film, subtitled “The Force Awakens” and directed by J.J. Abrams, took in more than $2 billion at the box office in 2015. The eighth chapter, “The Last Jedi,” directed by Rian Johnson, is scheduled for release by Disney on Dec. 15.

The film Trevorrow was meant to direct, “Star Wars: Episode IX,” is scheduled for release in May 2019. Filming has not started.

It was unclear why Kennedy had lost confidence in Trevorrow, who is best known for directing “Jurassic World,” which took in $1.7 billion worldwide in 2015. Likely not helping was Trevorrow’s last film, a small-budget drama called “The Book of Henry,” which arrived to withering reviews and terrible ticket sales in June.

“We did not anticipate that level of vitriolic dislike for the film,” he said of “The Book of Henry” at the time. “In the end, do I want to be somebody who pleases both audiences and critics? Absolutely. Is that hugely disappointing? It is.”

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