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Is JJ Abrams the Frontrunner to Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE IX?

JJ Abrams may have been Lucasfilm's pick to helm the relaunch of the Star Wars universe with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which was still being called Star Wars: Episode VII back when Abrams go the job), but it looked like the new Star Wars movies would be following the path of other megafranchises with new directors coming on for each installment. Lucasfilm officially confirmed last week that Rian Johnson would direct Star Wars: Episode VIII and Gareth Edwards has been attached to Star Wars: Rogue One for months now. Based on all of this, it looked like The Force Awakens would be the busy Abrams' one contribution to the Star Wars universe.

A new report by Latino-Review says that might not be the case. The site reported on Wednesday that there's "a good chance" that Abrams will return to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, writing that "those at Disney who have seen footage from The Force Awakens are very happy with what Abrams has delivered." The third movie in the Star Wars sequel trilogy isn't due to hit theaters until sometime in 2019 — that's plenty of time for Abrams to recover from his The Force Awakens process and return to the franchise.

First off, let's remember that this is Latino-Review making this claim. The site has gotten a few big scoops, but they're often wildly wrong on things. (To make matters worse, the site also has the habit of deleting wrong scoops instead of updating them or admitting they were wrong.)

That said, the idea of Abrams coming back for Episode IX isn't crazy. He's put a ton of work into building a new foundation for the Star Wars franchise to move forward from, working with Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter/producers Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.

Back in June when it was reported that Johnson would be writing and helping Episode VIII, some outlets also reported that he would write and direct Episode IX too. Either those reports were incorrect or something has changed since then. Maybe Episode IX's creative team will be a mix of Abrams and Johnson's influences.

While the three Star Wars prequel trilogy movies were all directed by George Lucas, having one director helm every installment of a megafranchise has become uncommon in recent years. The Harry Potter franchise used three different directors for its first four movies and one director for its final four movies. The Hunger Games series was launched by one director before having someone else come in to direct the final three movies. Even the original Star Wars trilogy was directed by three different people, with Lucas helming the first film and Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand following him.

With studios pumping out franchise installments on a yearly basis, it's almost impossible for one person to direct every movie. Lucasfilm going between Abrams, Johnson and whoever gets to direct Star Wars: Episode IX won't be a problem.
Is JJ Abrams the Frontrunner to Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE IX? Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 3/18/2015 Rating: 5

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