Star Wars is having a bit of a rough trot.
The film franchise should be gearing up for the sequel to its staggeringly successful Episode VII in December.
Instead, Disney just had to replace a second director on a Star Wars film in the past six months.
It has passed the reins of Episode IX back to Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, who is going to direct and write the movie.
So what’s been going on in a galaxy far, far away lately?
First, the Han Solo spinoff lost its directors
In June, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were replaced with Hollywood veteran Ron Howard deep into production.
Variety reported at the time there were just “weeks” of shooting left to go when they were shown the door.
The pair reportedly clashed with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy over their vision for the film.
At the moment, the movie is still scheduled for release on May 25, 2018.
Don’t hold your breath though.
It wasn’t the first time Disney booted a director.
In 2015, the company fired director Josh Trank from work on another Star Wars spinoff. And extensive reshoots on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story led to widespread speculation director Gareth Edwards had been unofficially sidelined by Tony Gilroy.
Then the same thing happened with Episode IX
Last week, Disney split with director Colin Trevorrow, citing differing creative visions for the sequel to this year’s The Last Jedi.
There hasn’t been time for the dust to settle, but Vulture reports Trevorrow’s last film, the critically panned Book of Henry, might have given Disney cold feet.
Unlike the Han Solo spinoff, there’s been much less work completed on Episode IX.
The film faces creative challenges after the death last year of Carrie Fisher, who plays the franchise’s Princess Leia.
Along with the appointment of Abrams, Disney has announced Episode IX will be pushed back six months to a December 20, 2019 release date.
That’s not a massive shock to fans, given Disney’s preference for a December release with Force Awakes, Rogue One and The Last Jedi so far.
Now Abrams is back on board
He’ll be the only director aside from franchise creator George Lucas to direct more than one Star Wars film.
Director JJ Abrams arrives at the premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Hollywood, California December 14, 2015. (Reuters:Mario Anzuoni)
Kennedy said Abrams, “delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for” on The Force Awakens and added: “I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy.”
Abrams will co-write Episode IX with screenwriter Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for adapting Argo, and also co-wrote Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
News of Abrams’ return was greeted warmly by fans on social media. He hasn’t directed or committed to directing another project since The Force Awakens, and instead had been focused on producing.
@Danimalish: J.J. Abrams was absolutely the safe choice for EPISODE IX. However, this is the last Skywalker saga film. I’m more than okay with that.
@mrjafri: The feeling of pure joy when you hear that J.J. Abrams is directing Episode IX