Well, that didn't take long. One week after announcing Colin Trevorrow's departure (opens in new tab) from Star Wars Episode 9 (opens in new tab), Disney and Lucasfilm have found a new hope in a familiar face: JJ Abrams. Yep, the man who helped usher in a new era with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (opens in new tab) is coming back (opens in new tab) to round out the trilogy. It's like a Rian Johnson sandwich with JJ Abrams bread.
Abrams will be the sole director, but will co-write the film's story with Chris Terrio. Terrio wrote the screenplay for Argo, is credited on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (opens in new tab) (though he was brought on after a draft had already been penned by David S. Goyer) and Justice League (opens in new tab) (alongside Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon). So he certainly has experience with some larger-than-life figures, which the Star Wars universe is full of.
As for Abrams, he said as recently as spring 2016 that he wasn't planning to come back. "It was a wonderful way to visit a place that meant so much to me and obviously so many," Abrams said in an interview with Fortune (opens in new tab) magazine. "I knew that if it worked, it was the perfect time to step down - and if it didn’t, no one would want me to do it anyway."
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a news release that "With The Force Awakens, JJ delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy." No doubt this will ruffle some feathers, as The Force Awakens was criticized by many for hemming too close to the original - I mean, at the end of the day, Starkiller Base was little more than an Ultra Super MEGA Death Star, right?
Still, with Terrio onboard and without the pressure to relaunch such a massive franchise and with the taste of the prequels now thoroughly rinsed from our mouths, I'm optimistic. Pre-production on Star Wars: The Last Jedi (opens in new tab) began in fall of 2015, so assuming that everything goes according to schedule from here on out, Abrams and co. should be gearing up for the final installment soon.