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J.J. Abrams to direct, write Star Wars: Episode IX

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The prodigal son returns

J.J. Abrams - 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - European Film Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
J.J. Abrams attends the European premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in London on Dec. 16, 2015.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

J.J. Abrams will write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX, Lucasfilm and Disney announced today.

Abrams, who relaunched the franchise with Star Wars: The Force Awakens — aka Episode VII — in 2015, is replacing Colin Trevorrow. Disney and Lucasfilm announced a week ago that they and Trevorrow had “mutually chosen to part ways.” Today’s news comes after Rian Johnson, director of this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, said “it was never in the plan” for him to take on Episode IX as well.

“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,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, in a news release.

Abrams was director and co-writer on The Force Awakens, and he will serve in those same roles on Episode IX. The other writer on the film is Chris Terrio, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Argo; he also co-wrote Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and worked on the upcoming Justice League.

If Abrams ends up staying in his directorial role, he will be the only person other than Star Wars creator George Lucas to helm multiple entries in the franchise. Lucas directed the original film, 1977’s A New Hope, as well as the prequel trilogy. But considering the tumultuous recent history of Star Wars when it comes to hiring and firing, nobody’s job seems safe.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will hit theaters Dec. 15. Episode IX is currently scheduled to premiere May 24, 2019.