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With J.J. Abrams directing, 'Star Wars: Episode IX' pushes back release date

J.J. Abrams, director of "Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens," will return to the franchise. (Lucasfilm / Disney)
J.J. Abrams, director of "Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens," will return to the franchise. (Lucasfilm / Disney)

The Force remains with J.J. Abrams, and he remains with the "Star Wars" franchise.

Announced Tuesday morning, the filmmaker will return to direct and write the final installment of the sequel trilogy, "Star Wars: Episode IX," replacing the recently ousted Colin Trevorrow.

Abrams, whose other major credits include "Lost," "Super 8," "Star Trek" and "Westworld," is credited with reinvigorating the space saga with "The Force Awakens" in 2015.

"With 'The Force Awakens,' J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy," Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday.

The director also will co-write the screenplay with "Argo" and "Justice League" scribe Chris Terrio. 

Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm will produce the new film.

Earlier this month, Lucasfilm and Trevorrow had "mutually chosen to part ways" on the upcoming film because of differing visions for it.

The 3-D film was previously slated for release in May 2019 but has been pushed back to Dec. 20, 2019, Walt Disney Studios, which owns Lucasfilm, said Tuesday afternoon.

Update, 12:45 p.m.: This story has been updated to include the film's new release date.

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