For some time, fans have been a bit iffy on the prospect of Colin Trevorrow taking the helm of Star Wars Episode 9. Yes, Trevorrow was responsible for Jurassic World — a film that’s gone down as the fourth highest grossing film of all time. That’s not bad considering he only did one film before it. However, that seems to be the biggest issue. Trevorrow is still a burgeoning filmmaker who has yet to establish his own voice. He created one quirky little film with Safety Not Guaranteed before being plucked from obscurity into the world of big blockbusters.
What’s worse is that despite the success of Jurassic World, a lot of film geeks looked back at the film in a not-so-favorable light. In fact, in the months following the movie’s release, after all the fun had worn off, there seemed to be a bit of a backlash against the popcorn approach the flick took. Did we really want someone who only directed one popcorn flick and one mildly charming indie flick to take the helm of one of the biggest franchises of all time?
To be honest, fans had little to stand on in terms of their criticisms. Safety Not Guaranteed was just an indie film, and Jurassic World was exactly the film that it should have been, regardless of any story quibbles you may have. It was successful for a reason. But with Trevorrow’s latest film, The Book of Henry, getting demolished by critics, do fans have any more ground to stand on?
Before we get any further, I think it’s worth noting that I personally LOVED The Book of Henry (you can check out my full review HERE). The film took a lot of chances that you don’t often see in Hollywood, and for the most part, I thought it pulled it off. Add in the great acting from its cast, its beautiful cinematography, and I personally found very little to complain about. But I’m very much in the minority here. In terms of all the other critics, the narrative has been set. The Book of Henry is a dud film, and with that narrative in place, will Disney get cold feet on Trevorrow?
Perhaps one case-in-point that fans may point to is Josh Trank. He was slated to direct the then-second Star Wars anthology picture, but after Fantastic Four flopped, he was unceremoniously removed from the project. What’s more, the project itself was tucked away into the deep, dark recesses of Lucasfilm. While this seems to give precedent to Disney and Lucasfilm replacing their directors, there are some key differences.
The first difference is Trank’s attitude. It wasn’t just that he made a bad film with Fantastic Four. What really put him in the director doghouse was his throwing 20th Century Fox under the bus. There was also the rumors surrounding him being difficult to work with, and his generally unprofessional attitude. Why in the world would Disney voluntarily go into business with a man who has proven he has little to no respect for the studio he works for?
The second difference is in the timing. While Trank was announced as an upcoming director, his actual project wasn’t actually announced just yet. Additionally, his film was still multiple years away, and as such, there was plenty of time for Disney to pivot.
Neither of these things are applicable to Trevorrow. We have never seen any evidence that he is difficult to work with, and Disney has a lot less room to pivot if they want to move forward. With Trank, they pretty much shelved his project, as it was an anthology. With Trevorrow, his entry is Episode 9 — an actual episode of the saga proper. No way they can shelve that or just push it back without a fuss being raised.
As of this writing, Star Wars Episode 9 is currently slated for a May 2019 release date — just under two years away. So long as they get shooting 12 or so months before the film is set to be released, they could technically get away with it, but it wouldn't be easy. If they look at the script he has in place so far, hate it, and decide to throw everything out, they’d really have to bust their asses to get something out.
But why would they do that? Sure, The Book of Henry film may not be doing so well, but at the end of the day, Star Wars isn't The Book of Henry. Plus, Disney has had faith in him for a while. Were under to buckle under the reception this film, they’d just prove themselves to be a weak, reactionary studio without any real vision or confidence in the men and women they hired. It’s one thing to replace someone before they start work, but it’s a completely different thing to replace them as a response to another completely unrelated film’s performance, especially this late in the game.
In short, do we think Trevorrow is in danger of being replace? Hell no. Doing so would only taint Disney’s image, and instill doubt where there currently is none. So far, the studio has managed to make things work, and until they give us a reason to doubt them, I'm all in with their hiring decision of Colin Trevorrow.