Like it or not, Star Wars and Lucasfilm has had some pretty turbulent productions since Disney took over the company several years ago.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story needed another director to rework much of the third act and quite a few scenes in the first and second. The original writer on The Force Awakens, Michael Arndt, departed after submitting his script. Solo: A Star Wars Story, as we know, saw its original directors fired and replaced by Ron Howard who allegedly reshot anywhere between 70% and 80% of the film.
With Episode IX and the story of Colin Trevorrow, who directed the revival of Jurassic World, the story was much more murky. The original scuttlebutt was that following Jurassic World's success, Trevorrow became difficult and his success on Jurassic World meant that he wouldn't take notes or directions from anyone. When The Book Of Henry cratered with audiences and critics alike, Kennedy saw her chance to dump him out of Episode IX and rehire Abrams - who was keen to get back in.
However, a new report by the Wall Street Journal now posits a completely different story, one that's a lot less salacious than an egomaniacal director and instead points to a genuine case of creative differences between Trevorrow and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy.
The story from WSJ's source has it that after Trevorrow made his pitch to Kennedy and Disney head honchos Alan Horn and Bob Iger, he set to work on the script with Derek Connolly and the drafts they submitted weren't meeting with Kennedy's approval. The exact nature of what was in those drafts isn't known, but already theories abound that Trevorrow wanted to bring Luke Skywalker back from the dead following The Last Jedi while others think it was more a series of disagreements than one specific point.
Anyway, Jack Thorne was brought in to take a stab at the script and, again, the script didn't meet with Kennedy's approval. Trevorrow heard about this and seemingly wanted to give the script another go, but Kennedy opted instead to throw out both Thorne as screenwriter and Trevorrow as director and hand the whole thing off to JJ Abrams. Abrams then brought in Chris Terrio, who previously scripted Ben Affleck's Argo and the ill-fated Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Justice League, and work is now ongoing.
So, what now? Episode IX is still locked in for a release date of December 2019 and if casting notices are to be believed, there's even whiffs of rumours that a certain character from the now-disavowed Expanded Universe is making a comeback. Kennedy herself admitted that Princess Leia was supposed to be the focus of Episode IX, but Carrie Fisher's untimely passing means now that the conclusion of the trilogy will needs to be heavily reworked - which is likely why it's taken so many attempts to crack the script.
While other productions that have had this many changes have often resulted in a finished film that's reflective of the chaos behind the camera, Rogue One and Solo (if the early reactions are to be believed) have lucked out with audiences and critics - so what of Episode IX?