Following the surprise departure of director Colin Trevorrow from Star Wars: Episode IX, a new report suggests Rian Johnson tops Lucasfilm's list of potential contenders to replace him.
Citing unnamed insiders, Deadline notes the Looper director "fit seamlessly into the Lucasfilm machine, which is no small feat given the number of star directors who’ve been chewed up and spat out under the 'creative differences' line," and remains a favorite as the studio prepares for the release of his Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
When Johnson was tapped in 2014 to write and direct what would become The Last Jedi, some initial reports erroneously indicated he would also pen the treatment for Episode IX. Although that turned out not to be true, he and Trevorrow reportedly worked closely to ensure continuity between the two films.
The official announcement of Trevorrow's departure, purportedly due to differing visions, arrived only Tuesday, but it's likely his replacement will be announced sooner rather than later, as Episode IX is targeted for release in 2019. Of course, this isn't the first time Lucasfilm has split with a director over "creative differences," with the studio parting company with Josh Trank in 2015 on a Star Wars anthology film, and earlier this year firing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo spinoff, only to replace them with Ron Howard.
Trevorrow was hired in 2015 to direct Star Wars: Episode IX in 2015 following his success on Jurassic World. Although that film was a blockbuster, earning a whopping $1.6 billion worldwide, his most recent release The Book of Henry flopped.
Star Wars: Episode IX arrives May 24, 2019.