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10th Sep 2017

Hollywood executive claims to know why Star Wars Episode IX director was fired

This goes beyond 'creative differences'

Rory Cashin

What exactly is going on with Star Wars?

Ever since the new generation of movies have been on the production line, there has constantly been some behind-the-scenes issues.

The Force Awakens went off without (much of) a hitch, but then it all kicked off. Josh Trank was lined up to direct a spin-off but was dropped very quickly and publicly. Some blame the rumours of his garish behaviour while making the Fantastic Four reboot, others blame it on that movie’s critical and commercial failure.

Then Phil Lord and Chris Miller were recently dumped from the Han Solo movie – in the middle of production – and replaced by Ron Howard.

And now Colin Trevorrow has been let go from Episode IX, a gig he was picked for on the back of the success of Jurassic World.

However, in between that movie and starting the new Star Wars, Trevorrow directed The Book Of Henry, one of the biggest critical and commercial flops of 2017 so far.

Was that movie’s failure enough for the folk behind the Star Wars franchise to fire him from the gig?

Apparently, not quite. Vulture spoke to an executive who claimed to have insider information on Trevorrow and his recent productions, which have reportedly made him quite difficult to work with.

“During the making of Jurassic World, he focused a great deal of his creative energies on asserting his opinion,” the executive said. “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 The Book Of Henry, [Trevorrow] was unbearable. He had an egotistical point of view— and he was always asserting that…

“When the reviews for The 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. He’s a difficult guy. He’s really, really, really confident. Let’s call it that.”

Is Disney too precious about their product, constantly clashing with the artistic mindset who want to pump new blood into the franchise? Or is Star Wars bigger than any one filmmaker, and if you’re lucky enough to be called up to bat for these movies, then take it for the opportunity that it clearly is?

In that same Vulture article, an anonymous studio chief spoke of Kathleen Kennedy, the person in charge of shaping the current and future Star Wars universe, and they put the whole thing quite succinctly: “There’s one gatekeeper when it comes to Star Wars and it’s Kathleen Kennedy.

“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 f*ck around with that.”

With rumours that Trevorrow may be replaced by a recent, trusted Star Wars director – either Abrams or Rian Johnson (who is currently finishing The Last Jedi) it will be interesting to see how and which directors get hired going forward.