Director Colin Trevorrow has decided to leave Star Wars: Episode IX because he and Lucasfilm have differing “visions”.
Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to star Daisy Ridley and John Boyega and is due out in May 2019. Lucasfilm will now seek a replacement for Colin Trevorrow, who is best known for directing Jurassic World.
The director’s departure comes less than three months after a Han Solo spin-off also lost its directors.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were replaced by Ron Howard.
On September 5, a statement on the Star Wars website said: “Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX.
“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. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon.”
Jack Thorne – who wrote the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – is reported to be working on the screenplay for Episode IX.
Lucasfilm has a reputation for ruthlessness when it comes to hiring and firing directors. In 2015, Fantastic Four‘s Josh Trank was dropped from directing a standalone Star Wars story.
According to Deadline, Rian Johnson, who is directing The Last Jedi (AKA Episode VIII, which is out this December), is top of the shortlist.
There are suggestions that JJ Abrams – who directed The Force Awakens (AKA Episode VII, out in 2015) – could step in.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has set a new opening night box office record in the US and Canada, industry experts said.
The new Star Wars movie made $57 million on December 17, beating the previous record of $43.5 million held by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.
Analysts say the space saga could become the biggest selling movie of all time.
Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian, one of Hollywood’s best-known box office analysts, said the movie’s opening night performance in the US and Canada “portends a massive and potentially record-breaking opening day and weekend for the film”.
Analysts expect The Force Awakens to make about $200 million in the US and Canada over its opening weekend, a total that could challenge the record Jurassic World set earlier this year.
The latest installment in the dinosaur theme park franchise made almost $209 million in its first three days on North American release in June.
Analysts say The Force Awakens opened on December 17 so would have to perform staggeringly well over the weekend to top the latest James Bond movie.
Directed by JJ Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens returns to “a galaxy far, far away” some 30 years on from the action of 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens sees original trilogy stars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher reprise their Han Solo and Princess Leia roles alongside younger franchise newcomers.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has sold his film production company Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company in a deal worth $4.05 billion.
George Lucas said: “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers.”
In a statement announcing the purchase, Disney said it planned to release a new Star Wars film, episode seven, in 2015.
That will be followed by episodes eight and nine and then one new movie every two or three years, the company said.
The last Star Wars film was 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, and Disney said it believed there was “substantial pent-up demand”.
Disney will pay about half in cash and half in stock, issuing 40 million Disney shares in the transaction.
The deal follows Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar studios for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2 billion in 2009.
“Our valuation of Lucasfilm is roughly comparable to the value we placed on Marvel when we announced that acquisition in 2009,” Disney said, adding that the valuation was almost entirely driven by the Star Wars franchise.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has sold his film production company Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company
George Lucas launched Lucasfilm in 1971 and the first Star Wars film was released in 1977.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” George Lucas said.
“I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”
George Lucas will continue as a creative consultant.
Kathleen Kennedy, currently co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of the firm and will be the executive producer on the new Star Wars films.
When the later Star Wars films were released in the 1990s and 2000s, although they did well at the box office, they were generally not well-received by fans.
But Josh Dickey, film editor at Variety magazine in LA, said that Disney was a “great fit” to update Star Wars.
“They’re so good at branding and brands. They’re so good at working with existing intellectual property and making it resonate with fans and marketing it very well,” he said.
“They’re not as good at creating original content, except for their Pixar division.
“I think if you bring together the minds from Pixar [and] the minds from Disney, the news that Disney is going to reboot Star Wars was a lot more exciting to fans than just <<there’s gonna be another Star Wars>>.”
Lucasfilm is also the production company behind the Indiana Jones franchise, and fantasy films Willow and Labyrinth.
Michael Corty, analyst at Morning Star, said Disney’s deal was clearly part of a pattern in buying new franchises.
“Pixar was the first big one, then Marvel, and now this one here,” he said.
“Because Lucas is private, I would assume most investors would be surprised.”
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