Disney Taps J.J. Abrams to Write, Direct `Star Wars' Film

(Bloomberg) -- J.J. Abrams, the go-to guy for hit sci-fi films, is returning to write and direct “Star Wars: Episode IX” after Walt Disney Co. parted company with the film’s original director.

Abrams, who directed “The Force Awakens,” the first film in a new “Star Wars” series, will co-write the picture with Chris Terrio, Disney said Tuesday on its website. The picture, from Disney’s Lucasfilm unit, is tentatively scheduled to debut in May 2019. Abrams, 51, also directed two “Star Trek” movies and the cult film “Super 8.”

Despite personnel changes behind the scenes, “Star Wars” has become a major success story for Disney following its 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm. “The Force Awakens” produced $2.07 billion in global ticket sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo, while “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” delivered $1.06 billion. The next film in the series, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” opens Dec. 15.

Disney said last week it would replace Colin Trevorrow as the director of “Episode IX.” Earlier this year the company said Ron Howard would replace Phil Lord and Christopher Miller at the helm of a Han Solo stand-alone film.