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The circle is now complete.
The circle is now complete.
J. Abrams, who directed the critically acclaimed first chapter in the latest “Star Wars” trilogy, will return to write and direct the third and final movie of the saga, “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
“With The Force Awakens, J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy, ” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday to announce Abrams’ return.
Fans will have to wait, however, to see what Abrams does with the movie. Episode IX was originally slated for a May 24,2019 release, but will now premiere on Dec. 20,2019, Lucasfilm announced Tuesday.
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Colin Trevorrow had originally been tapped to direct Episode IX, but Lucasfilm announced last week that the franchise was parting ways with the filmmaker in what they referred to as a “mutual” decision.
Abrams, 51, played a leading role in ushering in the new era of “Star Wars, ” introducing fans to fresh heroes like Rey and Finn, in addition to the villainous Kylo Ren, with his record-setting blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015.
That movie, which was the first under Disney’s ownership, is the highest-grossing movie in North America of all time, and the third-highest globally.
It’s the second “Star Wars” movie to undergo a directorial change in recent months. The upcoming Han Solo standalone movie, which still does not have a title, was originally supposed to be helmed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, but they ended up leaving the project due to “creative differences” with the studio.
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Ron Howard stepped in as its director shortly after. That film is due for theaters on May 25,2018.
Meanwhile, the second installment to the ongoing “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Last Jedi, ” is directed by Rian Johnson and is set to hit theaters on Dec. 15.

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