J.J. Abrams is the Chosen One.
The Force Awakens filmmaker will return to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX, filling the void left last week by the departure of director Colin Trevorrow.
While he partnered with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi scribe Lawrence Kasdan on the first film in the trilogy, this time Abrams will write the script with Argo Oscar-winner Chris Terrio.
The news is likely to bring balance to the fans, who viewed the departure of Jurassic World‘s Trevorrow as a sign of upheaval in the beloved series. Rumors circulated throughout Hollywood this summer that Trevorrow would be stepping down, and that Abrams — who handed off the second film in the series, The Last Jedi, to Looper writer-director Rian Johnson, but hasn’t taken on directing duties for another movie since — was eager for another journey into the galaxy.
Abrams would be the first filmmaker, besides George Lucas himself, to direct more than one installment of the cinematic franchise.
When Abrams first signed on to direct the then-untiled Episode VII in January 2013, he was given only one piece of direction from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy: She wanted the new series to feature the story of a young woman who learns she has strength and a connection with the Force within an unfathomable cosmic battle.
A girl becomes a Jedi, in other words.
Kennedy also tantalized him with a question: “Who is Luke Skywalker?”
The possibility of creating a hero for a new generation, while exploring the depths of a character Abrams loved as a boy, was an impossible draw to resist. (Even if, Luke didn’t get to turn up until the end.)
Now, Abrams has the unique opportunity to close out the trilogy, although it’s not clear given the new goal of releasing one Star Wars movie a year whether there will ever truly be an end for these characters.
Like Abrams, they are likely to keep being pulled back into the quest.
Here’s the statement released Tuesday by Lucasfilm:
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.