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!