Following the release of his latest feature, The Book of Henry – which opened to a 22% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed just $4.4 million dollars during its theatrical release – and some issues related to the script, Colin Trevorrow has been let go as the director of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX. Apparently, Trevorrow left the film on good terms after continued issues with the script, but a new report from Vulture suggests that Trevorrow’s ego was the real reason he was thrown off the project. This comes just a few months after the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the standalone Han Solo movie, where they were swiftly replaced by Ron Howard.
“During the making of Jurassic World, he focused a great deal of his creative energies on asserting his opinion,” the executive explains. “But because he had been personally hired by Spielberg, nobody could say, ‘You’re fired.’ Once that film went through the roof and he chose to do Henry, [Trevorrow] was unbearable. He had an egotistical point of view— and he was always asserting that.”
“There’s one gatekeeper when it comes to Star Wars and it’s Kathleen Kennedy,” says a veteran movie producer, who has worked with the studio chief. “If you rub Kathleen Kennedy the wrong way — in any way — you’re out. You’re done. A lot of these young, new directors want to come in and say, ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ A lot of these guys — Lord and Miller, Colin Trevorrow — got very rich, very fast and believed a lot of their own hype. And they don’t want to play by the rules. They want to do shit differently. And Kathleen Kennedy isn’t going to fuck around with that.”
I remember liking Jurassic World more than most, and even then I knew Trevorrow was the wrong choice for Star Wars. He’s too untested, too boring, too safe of a choice to have actually concluded the new trilogy in an interesting, original way. I can understand having J.J. Abrams direct The Force Awakens, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with it. Then, bringing in a true artist like Rian Johnson for the sequel was the best thing they could have done. And Trevorrow didn’t really fit in with that sequence.
It’s also arguable that part of the blame rests on the culture’s need to always be looking for the next best thing. Safety Not Guaranteed was a decent enough movie, but everyone lost their minds over it because it was just a bit more inclined towards its sci-fi side than its rom-com side, leading everyone to believe Trevorrow would somehow be perfect for a Star Wars movie. But what about Shane Carruth? Ava DuVernay? Duncan Jones? Denis Villeneuve? Nacho Vigalondo? Ryan Coogler? At a certain point, it’s clear that Trevorrow was given a job he did not deserve.
“When the reviews for Book of Henry came out, there was immediately conjecture that Kathy was going to dump him because they weren’t thrilled with working with him anyway,” the executive continues. “He’s a difficult guy. He’s really, really, really confident. Let’s call it that.”
Trevorrow has even spoken out against his career being used as an example of privilege and “cutting the line,” so to speak, but what else can you call it? The dude made, like, two decent movies and one shitty one, and somehow that qualifies him to make the next Star Wars? That seems silly. Really, the only reason his career has gone the way it has is that Brad Bird said Trevorrow reminded him of himself. Imagine being that lucky.
Thankfully, Trevorrow is out and he’s not coming back. That ship has, thankfully, sailed. The question is: who will replace him? Ron Howard is a great director, but his workmanlike approach would probably work much better for a one-off like the Han Solo film and not so much the last film in a billion-dollar trilogy that will tie together years of loose plot threads and expectations while also feeling like a standalone film. It’s a hard job even for the most seasoned directors, and there was no way Trevorrow would’ve been able to pull it off. But who can?
Let us know who you want to direct Star Wars: Episode IX!