While writer/director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) may be getting a story credit on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, he was initially hired to write and direct the movie — a role finally performed by The Force Awakens helmer J.J. Abrams. The circumstances surrounding Trevorrow's firing were surrounded with rumor: was he too difficult to work with? Going in a different direction than LucasFilm wanted? Losing confidence after one of his other films bombed at the box office? Now Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, is helping set the record straight.
Speaking to io9, the Star Wars boss explained that one of the main reasons Trevorrow didn't work out for the closing film of the Skywalker saga was that he wasn't there from the beginning of the new trilogy.
"Colin was at a huge disadvantage not having been a part of Force Awakens and in part of those early conversations because we had a general sense of where the story was going," Kennedy said. "Like any development process, it was only in the development that we’re looking at a first draft and realizing that it was perhaps heading in a direction that many of us didn’t feel was really quite where we wanted it to go."
Kennedy's reference of the first draft and the development process speaks to Trevorrow's initial involvement, during which he and longtime co-writer Derek Connolly turned in a draft of the film. Some of this made it into the final product, shown by the Writer's Guild settling on a "Story By" credit for both, but J.J. Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio were solely credited as writers on the final screenplay.
Turning it over to Abrams made sense in a lot of ways, especially because the writer/director had a proven track record in place of turning out Star Wars films at a pace Kennedy was happy with.
"We were on a schedule, as we often are with these movies, and had to make a tough decision as to whether or not we thought we could get there in the time or not," Kennedy said. "And as I said, Colin was at a disadvantage because he hadn’t been immersed in everything that we all had starting out with Episode VII."
So apparently the work it may have taken to get Trevorrow's version of The Rise of Skywalker in line with Kennedy's would have taken too much time, while bringing back Abrams allowed the production the comfort of a Star Wars veteran.
Fans can see the final product of this bumpy development when The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on Dec. 20.