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

J.J. Abrams, above, replaces Colin Trevorrow on the

J.J. Abrams, above, replaces Colin Trevorrow on the ninth "Star Wars" movie. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Filmmaker J.J. Abrams has taken over as writer-director of the upcoming ninth “Star Wars” movie.

Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios announced Tuesday that Abrams, 51, has replaced Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) on the development of “Star Wars: Episode IX.” He will co-write the film with Chris Terrio, and produce it with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan, the companies said. Abrams directed and co-wrote the seventh film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), which rebooted the franchise.

“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,” Kennedy said in a statement. The veteran TV writer-producer also directed “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) and directed and co-wrote “Mission: Impossible III” (2006).

Disney and Lucasfilm had announced Trevorrow as director in August 2015. The companies said in a statement Sept. 5 that, “Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on ‘Star Wars: Episode IX.’ 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.”

Production on “Star Wars: Episode IX” was set to begin early next year for a scheduled release date of Dec. 20, 2019. Disney and Lucasfilm changed the release date from May 24, 2019, according to reports.

Rian Johnson (2012’s “Looper”) wrote and directed the eighth film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” reaching theaters Dec. 15.

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