Bow before Emperor Kennedy!
That's right. What people predicted would happen months ago has finally happened. Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World and this summer's divisive The Book of Henry, has officially exited Star Wars Episode IX as its director. The film—which is due in theaters in less than two years and was scheduled to begin principal photography later this year—is now without a director, officially, though I expect that by the time you read this, they will have announced that Rian Johnson or J.J. Abrams has stepped in to finish the job.
Lucasfilm wants stability. They thought they wanted maverick directors with unique takes on the material, but they don't. At the same time, they don't want a guy who has only made three films and was probably asking a lot of questions that concerned Kathleen Kennedy. She probably saw shades of Lord & Miller or even—gasp—Josh Trank in him and said that they'll push the release date back if they have to in order to get Johnson or Abrams back as director for the final film in the third Skywalker-centric trilogy.
My bet is that Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly turned in a script that was lackluster and, when coupled with the director's relative inexperience, made them think they had another bomb on their hands. So they decided not to get four months into production before having to fire him this time, and parted ways with them sooner. Deadline is all in for Rian Johnson to just continue on—though again, no mention of moving off that May 2019 release date yet.
Personally I'm not sure. We haven't seen Johnson's take on the material yet, and J.J. seems like he'd probably be Lucasfilm and Disney's ideal guy to finish this. Trevorrow can go finish the Jurassic World trilogy—even though J.A. Bayona is definitely a better director on that end as well. Kennedy does seem smitten with Rian Johnson, and he did already write a treatment for Episode IX—which was allegedly jettisoned by Trevorrow and Connolly—so we know he's got an angle at least.
This is what happens when you put the cart before the horse, Lucasfilm. Pace yourselves, we would have happily waited three years between films like we did in the old days. Just get it right this time. Please.