J.J. Abrams Returning to Write and Direct 'Star Wars: Episode IX'

After several high-profile exits by previous 'Star Wars' directors, Lucasfilm is turning to the filmmaker who helped resurrect the franchise in the first place

Figurines of Kylo Ren, center, and First Order Stormtroopers, characters from "Star Wars", are displayed at the Tomy Co. booth at the International Tokyo Toy Show in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, June 9, 2016
Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

 J.J. Abrams is returning to "Star Wars," and will replace Colin Trevorrow as writer and director of "Episode IX."

Disney announced Abrams return on Tuesday. After several high-profile exits by previous "Star Wars" directors, Lucasfilm is turning to the filmmaker who helped resurrect the franchise in the first place. Abrams will co-write the film with screenwriter Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for adapting "Argo."

As the director of "The Force Awakens," Abrams rebooted "Star Wars" to largely glowing reviews from fans and more than $2 billion in box office. Abrams had said that would be his only film for the franchise, but he's now been pulled back in.

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Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said that Abrams "delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for" on "The Force Awakens" and added "I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy."

"Star Wars: Episode IX" is expected to hit theaters in May of 2019.