by Zach Johnson | Tue., Sep. 12, 2017 7:35 AM
J.J. Abrams has more stories to tell.
Lucasfilm announced Tuesday that he "is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX." Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio, and he will produce the project with Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Bad Robot and Lucasfilm. In a statement, Kennedy told E! News, "With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy."
Abrams replaces Colin Trevorrow, who severed ties with the studio last week. "Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX,'" Walt Disney Pictures told E! News in a statement. "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."
(Trevorrow has yet to comment on his departure.)
A direct sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi, Abrams' The Force Awakens was released in 2015 and earned over $2 billion at the box office. It brought back old characters like Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)—plus droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Jimmy Vee)—and introduced a new generation of heroes and villains, including Finn (John Boyega), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a BB-8 droid.
The next installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (directed by Rian Johnson), will premiere Dec. 15.
Abrams has yet to comment on his return to the series.
Star Wars: Episode IX was originally scheduled for theatrical release on May 24, 2019. On Tuesday, it was pushed back to Dec. 20, 2019.