Disney confirmed today that J.J. Abrams will be taking back the director’s seat for the next installment of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode 9. Nerds everywhere are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief for the film finally having a director.

The project has had its share of ups and downs with Colin Trevorrow leaving due to creative differences and Rian Johnson reportedly passing up the offer to direct the film. With a release originally slated for May, 2019 it’s no surprise that Disney and Lucasfilm needed to find someone to helm the project immediately, Abrams was perhaps the best solution.

Abrams directed and helped write 2015’s The Force Awakens which was a critical success making over $2 billion worldwide, perhaps a good reason to bring him back for the final installment. But, he also had creative handling of the trilogy from the beginning and worked with actors like John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in the first film, which will help him manage the project a little easier this time around. He hasn’t really gone away from the franchise either as he is credited as the executive producer for The Last Jedi.

Some critics of the The Force Awakens noted the similar narrative beats to A New Hope and might find Abrams’ return disconcerting.  However, that move might have been intentional to bring back fans who had fallen out of favor with the series due to the prequels. We’ll have to see The Last Jedi to know for sure, but personally I’m excited for J.J.’s comeback.

Abrams is set to direct and co-write with Chris Terrio. Disney also announced that Episode 9 is now set for a December 20, 2019 release.

Below is the press release posted on starwars.com:

J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.

“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.

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