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‘Back to close out the trilogy’: J.J. Abrams to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

The Force is strong with this one.

J.J. Abrams, who helped kickstart a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, will return to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX.

Previously announced director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) stepped away from the project last week citing creative differences, which followed the departure of Chris Miller and Phil Lord from the standalone Han Solo movie mid-shoot (they were replaced by Ron Howard).

The Abrams announcement was made official on Star Wars’ Twitter account Tuesday morning.

Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio, who helped script Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

“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 Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson was rumoured to be a front-runner to take over for Episode IX, but he refuted that talk during a promo visit to Japan.

“It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it,” he explained.

“For me, I was entirely focused on Episode VIII and having this experience. Now I’m just thinking about putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it. So no, I’m not really thinking about that right now.”