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J.J. Abrams to Write and Direct ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

LOS ANGELES — 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 revived “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.

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.”

This move also means Abrams will be the only director aside from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas to direct more than one “Star Wars” film.

“Star Wars: Episode IX” is expected to hit theaters in May of 2019. It is the final installment in the new “main” Star Wars trilogy that began with Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” in 2015 and will continue this December with director Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi.”