Virtually every detail announced about every franchise with a fervent fandom results in polarizing reactions, with Star Wars films being one of the franchises most regularly debated. Each time an actor, filmmaker or teaser gets revealed, many fans laud the decisions while others cast strong judgment.
Many initial announcements from Lucasfilm about the future of Star Wars are received positively, but given the amount of changes in leadership over the last few months involving the galaxy far, far away, fans are left struggling to make sense of what's going on and what these changes potentially mean for the future of the series.
While personal preferences can impact someone's reactions to announcements regarding the saga, there can still be a relative amount of objectivity regarding the status of the untitled Episode IX, which is set to conclude the story of Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren.
Scroll down to read our thoughts on the film's status!
Director J.J. Abrams has made a name for himself by emulating the filmmakers he grew up with while also injecting his stories with a sense of modernity. Reportedly, Abrams accepted the gig of directing a Star Trek reboot because he had no connection to the series, as opposed to directing a Star Wars film, which he felt too pressured to make perfect. Interestingly, many fans' complaints about Star Trek were about how similar it was to a science fantasy movie instead of science fiction.
Despite his reservations, Abrams accepted the role of crafting The Force Awakens, which went on to earn over $2 billion worldwide and score 92% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The filmmaker clearly knows how to make a Star Wars movie, with some of the film's biggest issues being that it felt too familiar and didn't offer much original content. With Episode IX being much further removed from the original trilogy, Abrams should, in theory, have more freedom to explore uncharted territory.
When Lucasfilm began crafting this sequel trilogy, the plan was always to have different directors create different installments, but the process of crafting all three films was still collaborative. Abrams has been involved from the inception of Rey's journey, which means he'll be that much more familiar to the overall arc than a director brought in years after the concept was conceived.
There may be some fans of Colin Trevorrow who are disappointed that he has left the project, but with his previous film, The Book of Henry, being a critical and financial disappointment, many called his abilities at helming such a character-driven story into question. The director surely knew how to make a competent blockbuster, as he proved with Jurassic World, but there's a big difference between a profitable film and a good film.
Another update from Lucasfilm is that the film will be pushed back from its original May release date to December. This should allow the filmmakers to spend more time on developing the film and not feel rushed, plus The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story proved the success of opening an installment in the holiday season.
Abrams felt like a safe bet for The Force Awakens, while writer/director Rian Johnson seemed like a much more ambitious pick for The Last Jedi. Fans became excited when Trevorrow departed Episode IX, as it hinted at the possibility of seeing the saga through the perspective of someone who wasn't a white male, but now that possibility is gone.
Selecting Abrams is another safe choice for the upcoming film, but this could have been an opportunity to explore a more diverse vision of a galaxy full of characters that come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Considering directors like Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins, A Wrinkle in Time's Ava DuVerney and Black Panther's Ryan Coogler were the go-to choices of many of the saga's fans, falling back on a director who's already gotten to craft his version of the galaxy is underwhelming.
Many were relieved to find out Trevorrow departed the project, but what does it say about Lucasfilm? Earlier this year, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, helmers of the 21 Jump Street films and The LEGO Movie, parted ways from the Han Solo spinoff reportedly due to clashes with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Considering how excited fans were for that project, Trevorrow's departure exhibits a trend that Lucasfilm has very rigid standards for what each film will be, with anything that doesn't adhere to it resulting in changes in creative leadership.
One of the earliest harbingers of Lucasfilm's control over their saga came from reports of massive reshoots on Rogue One, supposedly due to the film being too dark and gritty and not close enough in tone to the rest of the saga. Director Gareth Evans seemingly adhered to their standards ultimately, but the final product included re-shoots and re-writes overseen by Tony Gilroy. Trevorrow's departure so shortly after Lord and Miller's might squash any hope of seeing a bold new vision for the saga.