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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Ever since Colin Trevorrow was announced to direct Star Wars: Episode 9, fans have been a bit iffy. This was someone who directed a single indie flick before jumping into Jurassic World, a film many think he didn’t deserve to direct.

While Jurassic World did fantastically at the box office, and checked enough boxes to be considered a fun time at the theaters, it wasn’t long before it became criticized for its shallow nature.  Transitioning from that to one of the most precious franchises of all time in his hands was a bit unsettling to many.

This unsettling nature was amplified when The Book of Henry was released. While I actually loved the film for the risks it took, I was in the definite minority here, as most other critics and viewers found the film to be unwatchable. Seeing this as vindication for disliking Trevorrow, following that movie’s release, many fans began to wonder if it would influence Lucasfilm in potentially firing him from Star Wars: Episode 9.

From the sound of it, it was half-true. Yes, The Book of Henry did have an effect, but it doesn’t sound like it was the main reason for getting canned. According to a source from Vulture, his firing has more to do with his attitude than the quality of his movies. Here’s what the source had to say:

“During the making of Jurassic World, he focused a great deal of his creative energies on asserting his opinion. But because he had been personally hired by Spielberg, nobody could say, ‘You’re fired.’ Once that film went through the roof and he chose to do Henry, [Trevorrow] was unbearable. He had an egotistical point of view— and he was always asserting that.”

During the development of the script for Star Wars: Episode 9, he grew increasingly “unmanageable” to the top folks over at LucasFilm. Of course, this is bad enough, but throw Book of Henry on top of it all, and it sounds like they finally had an excuse to take him out.

“When the reviews for Book of Henry came out, there was immediately conjecture that Kathy was going to dump him because they weren’t thrilled with working with him anyway. He’s a difficult guy. He’s really, really, really confident. Let’s call it that.”

So this is the word of one anonymous executive, but is it true? Well, Trevorrow himself even said to Esquire back in 2015 that a certain amount of arrogance was required of directors.

“Directors require a level of confidence that can border on the delusional,” Trevorrow said. “You have to push it right up to the edge of arrogance, but never cross the line.”

Sounds like he may have crossed the line, at least in the eyes of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. If this is all true, it sounds like Kennedy may have made the right move here. When shepherding a franchise that requires all involved to be team players, it’s difficult to have someone undermining and overriding at every turn.

If rumors are to be believed regarding Phil Lord and Chris Miller, former directors of the Han Solo film, it sounds like they were also a bit difficult to work with, in that they were changing the tone of the film on set.

“There’s one gatekeeper when it comes to Star Wars and it’s Kathleen Kennedy,” says a veteran movie producer told Vulture. “If you rub Kathleen Kennedy the wrong way — in any way — you’re out. You’re done. A lot of these young, new directors want to come in and say, ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ A lot of these guys — Lord and Miller, Colin Trevorrow — got very rich, very fast and believed a lot of their own hype. And they don’t want to play by the rules. They want to do shit differently. And Kathleen Kennedy isn’t going to f**k around with that.”

I do want to dive into that one line the producer mentioned about believing their own hype. In a recent interview with Death Note director Adam Wingard with Channel 33, he discussed the importance of taking things slowly. Unlike a lot of other filmmakers, he didn’t get catapulted into stardom after one or two movies. After about a dozen or so smaller movies, he’s only now just making it into the big times with Godzilla vs. Kong. Taking it slower, he said, helped him not buy into his own hype, and kept him more humble.

“I’ve been really lucky in the sense that I’m not one of these filmmakers who had their Sundance movie, and then they were catapulted into doing a big budget, mainstream thing. There was actually a couple times in my career where that almost happened, and I’m actually glad it didn’t because it allowed me to have a real sense of reality and keep my ego in check — you don’t to buy your own hype, to a certain degree. And the danger of being catapulted into something like that is that, I think a lot of filmmakers get a disproportionate sense of who they are as an artist.”

Sounds a lot like what we’re looking at here. When all said and done, perhaps it was the fact that these filmmakers “got very rich, very fast”– and not the directors’ visions — that really led to their confrontation with Lucasfilm. So while firing these directors definitely looks bad for Lucasfilm, but if we’re to believe everything we hear, it may ultimately be for the best.

After going through the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the firing of Josh Trank, and now the firing of Trevorrow, I find myself changing my position on all this. Before, I thought perhaps Lucasfilm was a producer-heavy studio with little room for a director’s creative vision. Perhaps that wasn’t the case at all. Perhaps the real problem was just plucking directors too early on in their careers, giving said directors too much confidence, and making them incredibly difficult to work with.

What do you think of this rumor? Was this enough of a reason to give Colin Trevorrow the boot from Star Wars: Episode 9? Sound off down below!

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SOURCE: Vulture, Channel 33

  • ghostofmurrayhamilton

    Just to rub it in, Lucasfilm will hire Josh Trank.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      They already kicked him off before. Why bring back that hack.

  • I can’t imagine what Trevorrow had to be arrogant about so far in his career. I believe Star Wars is bigger than any one person. If you are Kennedy and you hold those keys, then you dole them out very carefully and precisely. If one ends up in the wrong hands, you remove the key and find a new keeper.

    Trevorrow wasn’t good enough for Star Wars, not so far anyway. But the right person is out there.

    Kathleeen, you can contact me through LRM. I am ready to start anytime ha

    • Kindofabigdeal

      Ooh, if she calls can I be an assistant?

      • Hell you can be my wingman any day Bigdeal

    • Victor Roa

      I’m still curious as to why didn’t he do Jurassic World 2?

      • Jeremy Alexander

        Because despite being a financial success the movie stunk and they probably thought the next one should at least be good?

        • Victor Roa

          was it? regardless of flaws of the last films, Andy Dewery hangs out with Jeff Goldblum is a price tag on it’s own?

        • Victor Roa

          that

      • HORSEFLESH

        Because he signed for Star Wars.

        • Victor Roa

          I buy that. Scheduling concerns, but still fallow ups are always a good sign that you were great with the crew you know how to know how to lead the franchise into the right direction.

    • syambo87

      Han Solo Shot First!!!

      • SaiyanHeretic

        Correction: Han Shot ONLY.

        • syambo87

          hahaha… Correction Accepted!! Hahaha

  • Kindofabigdeal

    I didn’t hate Colin’s first two films but Jeebus he needs to shut that ego down. His first movie was ok. JW, while I enjoyed it, was still just slightly better than JP3. (JP2 is the worst)
    He had a chance to do something historical and he blew it by being a douche. Sounds like that Walsh guy from Entourage.

    • I’ve worked with soooo many designers and engineers in the video game industry who’s egos far exceeded their capabilities. I think a lot of these folks, Treverrow included, are incredibly insecure and put up this arrogant front to hide their fear and uncertainty. In my experience, if you’re really good at what you do, you generally aren’t a jerk to people (because you’re not threatened).

      • Kindofabigdeal

        I think I’m pretty good with the stories and comics I make for my friends. They all think it’s pretty good. Or when I create work news letters as a joke and people tell me I missed my calling, I still consider myself a pretty humble person. I’m always looking for approval. I think that if I was ever successful at anything I would still be my humble self because that’s just how I am. To me, there is no worse feeling than me thinking I did something great and no one else getting it, or thinking it’s rubbish.
        But then again, no ones asked me to direct a major blockbuster so who knows.

  • axebox

    This is nothing new in the film industry. There are people that are very much into preserving their vision, regardless of whether it’s right for the story that the production wants to tell. Also, many studios are emulating Pixar’s development process, and I imagine Lucasfilm is probably 100% in on that process where iterating storyboards and scripts is the name of the game.

    Regardless, this sounds like Lucasfilm butting heads with the creatives they are hiring. They should really hire the right people to begin with and not superficial “talent” of the moment.

    • Fair enough, but there’s a fine line between uncompromising vision and unrelenting jerk — sounds like there’s little mystery that Treverrow was more the latter. I respect anyone who knows their stuff and fights for what they believe in, but you have to know when to back off and play ball (at the end of the day, Treverrow is serving Star Wars, it ain’t serving him). However, I still ultimately believe this was a catastrophe of LucasFilm’s own making, they should have known better to give a multi-billion dollar project to a dude on his third feature.

  • Fallout Boy!

    George Miller.
    Mel Gibson.
    Robert Zemeckis.
    Alfonso Cuaron.
    David Yates?
    Inarrittu
    Stone lol
    Fuck Whedon.
    Umm…
    Fincher?
    Nah… He’s a real dick…
    Bay! Lol
    Verhoeven!
    Milius
    Coppola!
    Pete Jackson.
    The Whacked-off-cock-kowskis sisters!
    Fucking Tarantino 3.5 hour nonology capper-space-opera-motherfuckn-cinema blitzkreig!
    Jodorowsky.
    MARTY CALLNER.
    Oh fuck it, just dig up Kersh!

    • Lenin1959

      And it will be none of those. Most likely it will by Jar Jar Abrams, or – if he is not burnt out right now – Rian Johnson. My money is on JJA, though.

  • Victor Roa

    hmmmm okay but that doesn’t explain Lord and Miller who actually have been working in multiple range of projects for the past 20 years. The amount of time and patients on Lego Movie really does show they have range compared to 21 Jump St which on the spot jokes.

    • From what I’ve read and heard, Lord and Miller simply went too far off-script with the improv stuff to suit LucasFilm on Han Solo. Interestingly, we’re hearing that Taika Waititi did the same thing on Thor: Ragnarok, but everyone seems super happy with the results in this case. Maybe LucasFilm is just a little more precious about their properties than Marvel… or maybe Lord and Miller just strayed too far from canon (I worked at LucasFilm, this is HIGHLY likely), while over at Marvel canon is merely a jumping-off point, as they’re constantly tweaking the source material to suit the medium.

      • Victor Roa

        yeah, but they really should have known that, like these guys worked on How I Met Your Mother and Brooklyn 99, and none of these shows hurt their reputation it’s good quality work with a diverse team.
        If it’s cannon then Lucasfilms is being ridiculous because they were actually good team to work with and would have gotten a different flavor in a franchise that kinda does have a bland monotone problem. Because remember Genndy’s first Clone Wars shorts were just insane Samurai Jack antics, and then the CG Show was kinda okay just none of the cool design work by guys who worked with freaking Ralph Bashki.
        Personally for me, my favorite Star War Underworld comic was by Carlos Megila the creator of Cyber Six, it’s just the style and energy to his work. I don’t even think Star Wars ever done like that before.
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/80e1805af605cc14821bb2e73c9259b22333eb15fd945336b579da6595ad56f1.jpg

  • Bruce Norris

    There was a time when studios plucked film makers from college. For the most part, they didn’t immediately become arrogant. They became iconic. What’s going on now that this doesn’t hold true?

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      Perhaps it has to do with the budgets in films. yes, they did pull kids from college before, but they didn’t give them $150 million for their second movies.

      • Bruce Norris

        So, you think the amount of money they have to “sling around” is the cause? Could be 😊
        Maybe the solution is to make them “prove themselves” for a time, possibly on Netflix or some such before granting them huge budgets? Sign me up! I’ll make ya believe😃

        • Joseph Jammer Medina

          Yeah, I guess. Imagine if you made a movie for $2 million, and then a big studio is interesting in signing you up for a $100 million movie. All of a sudden, every core belief you have is validated, and you’re at the beginning of — and possibly at the most arrogant stage of — your career. Wouldn’t you think you’re hot shit? In comparison, filmmakers used to go from $5 million to $10 million to $20 million to $40 million, and $75 million, and after more than a handful, then they’d be brought on because a studio knew they knew how to handle a budget. They’ve worked long enough to gain a little humility and better understand how things work.

          • Bruce Norris

            Maybe I just think different. I make $500 mill. on a $2 mill budget?…Let me “play some more”. This means back off and let me work. You know I got the goods…but let me help you…Get off my back and let me work.

            When you don’t have the budget, you gotta get creative. Let me be creative for a time.

            I’ll tell you when I’m ready for your $150 million. I know when I’m “in over my head”.

            I think these “creative types” think they need to grab the money while they can. I’d rather refuse and show and prove😃

  • It sounds like the word on Treverrow was established and widely known before he was hired on Episode IX. It shouldn’t have been any mystery to Kennedy that he was an ass to work with. To me, this comes down to a bad hiring/management call (and there’s been a clear trend of this at LucasFilm of late).

    • Jeremy Alexander

      Yeah, but his career has been so short, you never know if that’s just disgruntled people on set, or backstabbing. He had a hit with a big franchise, and that is the kind of directing experience they need. Good for her to fix mistakes instead of just letting them ride. The movies will make money anyway, just like the shitty prequels did. When I see directors being shit canned that tells me it’s a company that gives a fuck what the final product will be.

      • OK, look at it from this point of view: would you hire someone to work on a billion dollar project (in any industry) who has only a couple years of qualified experience? People talk about the Russos and James Gunn being risks for Marvel, but they earned their stripes on TV and lesser features over a period of decades before taking on their AAA projects at Marvel-Disney.

  • Sizzle Spice Donkey

    So Kathleen is the problem? No surprise there.

    • Jeremy Alexander

      Why, because she’s exercising quality control? Everybody said the same thing before Rogue One with all of the issues surrounding it and that was the best Star Wars movie since the OT, possible even better than the massively overrated ROTJ. I’d rather see someone willing to make hard decisions to ensure quality than just let things go because they know the movie will make billions anyway. Not having a tough hand to intervene is how we got the prequel fuckfest.

      • J’Accuse

        See, I thought it was Star Wars, the leftovers.

  • TamosC

    Yes, directors are incredibly difficult to work with if you take a director and then try to get him to change his movie half way through. Curious Gareth Edwards isn’t on the list despite effectively being marginalised when Tony Gilroy stepped in for the reshoots, because he played ball and STFU. The problem is inherent not just at Disney but with DC and all the directors dropping out, reshoots etc, the films has got to fit a certain criteria to get those projected big box office numbers. If you’re a director you’re being given a franchise you either stick within the confines of that franchise or you go.

  • Leftmouse

    All conjecture. Why do we always have to reach for “he/they must be a dick” in these situations.
    Yes. you get extra clicks on your website. But it leaves a very sour taste

  • Jeremy Alexander

    Trevorrow was a prick. That was hardly secret knowledge and arrogant pricks, especially people that don’t even qualify to be one, are not welcome in most sensible work environments. The fact that he’s made a couple shit movies, even if one was financially successful, is just the icing on the cake.

  • Misutā Supākoru

    Just read that JJ is back in the Star Wars saddle. Makes sense from a shareholder standpoint: he delivered the goods on TFA and made Disney a ton of money. He’s a safe choice.
    Fandom will disagree, I imagine. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed TFA. So, I am not upset by this in the least

  • J’Accuse

    If you ask which one, Wonder Woman or Jurassic World, was better directed it’s hard to say because they were both scripted by studio hacks and filmed competently by young directors. I don’t think anyone has clout over the script in this type of film except the studio heads and the toy manufacturers.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.