Although J.J. Abrams is said to have started with a blank canvas when he replaced Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow in the director’s chair for Episode IX, it has been revealed that Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly will still be receiving a story credit on next month’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
As revealed by Collider, The Writers Guild of America – which is the final arbiter for determining writing credits for projects that fall under its jurisdiction – has decided that the screenplay credit will go to Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams (the ampersand indicating that they worked together), with a ‘Characters Created By’ credit going to George Lucas and a ‘Story By’ credit to Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams (the ‘and’ indicating two separate writing teams).
Now, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary, and doesn’t necessarily mean that any of Trevorrow and Connolly’s ideas for Episode IX were retained for The Rise of Skywalker. Typically, the first writer or writing team to work on an original screenplay or treatment are entitled to a ‘Story By’ credit even if the project is subsequently subject to a complete page one rewrite, which Abrams has previously suggested to be the case here:
“You’ve got two years from the decision to do it to release, and you have literally nothing,” said Abrams in an interview with Fast Company. “You don’t have the story, you don’t have the cast, you don’t have the designers, the sets. There was a crew, and there were things that will be worked on for the version that preceded ours, but this was starting over. And because this was such a mega job, I knew at the very least I needed a cowriter to work on this thing, but I didn’t know who that cowriter would be. There was nothing. So the first thing I did was reach out to a writer who I’ve admired for years, Chris Terrio. who I didn’t really know, to say, ‘Listen, would you want to write Star Wars with me?’ And he screamed.”
Trevorrow exited Episode XI back in September of 2017 due to “creative differences”, and while no official reason was ever given for his departure, various unconfirmed rumours circulated suggesting that he was proving to be “unbearable”, “egotistical” and “difficult” during development, and/or that he disagreed with the direction of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and wanted to both Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke to survive Episode VIII.
Whatever the reasoning, it will certainly be interesting to see if we ever learn what Trevorrow was planning for Episode IX, and how this compares to what Abrams actually delivers with The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set for release on December 19th 2019 in the UK and December 20th 2019 in North America. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) directing a cast that includes Star Wars veterans Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) as well as new additions Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), and Keri Russell (The Americans).