Could The Book Of Henry Save Us From Star Wars: Episode IX Director?

Star Wars: Episode IX will be out in theaters May 24, 2019.
Star Wars: Episode IX will be out in theaters May 24, 2019. Lucasfilm

Could disastrous reviews for The Book of Henry have Disney rethinking their pick for director of Star Wars: Episode IX? Or is this just wishful thinking?

After becoming an inexplicable studio darling after his mediocre indie film Safety Not Guaranteed, Colin Trevorrow directed Jurassic World, now the fourth most money-making movie ever, wedged just below Star Wars: The Force Awakens and just above The Avengers in worldwide box office gross. So there was a sort of accounting sense in Disney selecting Trevorrow to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. But creatively, it was a disastrous choice, particularly after hiring genre auteur Rian Johnson for Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi. Does Disney really want to cap its new Star Wars sequel trilogy with the guy who shoehorned a garbage divorce subplot into his dinosaur movie? Will the fate of Luke Skywalker really come down to the dude who subjected us to Jimmy Fallon pratfalls?

Maybe, just maybe, the imminent flop of Trevorrow’s next movie, The Book of Henry, will have Disney reconsidering their choice, particularly since it only ever made sense under the presumption that Trevorrow = money.

For those unfamiliar with Trevorrow’s indie follow-up to Jurassic World, The Book of Henry is about a boy genius, Henry, who works with his single mother to take down an abusive police commissioner. It looks like treacly garbage, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Despite a review embargo that doesn’t lift until the day of release (always a bad sign), the early critical consensus is downright poisonous:

There’s just no way this movie will become a surprise hit either. Mike Sampson, former Editor-in-Chief of Screencrush, first floated the possibility that Book of Henry might have Disney rethinking Star Wars: Episode IX.

This is, in all likelihood, just wishful thinking. Still, it’s wishful thinking we’re happy to indulge. And it’s not without precedent.

Josh Trank, director of Chronicle and Fantastic Four, was fired from the Star Wars Story planned for after Rogue One. That was two years ago, approximately three years before his Star Wars movie’s projected May 25, 2018 release date, now occupied by the untitled Han Solo movie (directed by The Lego Movie ’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller).

Unfortunately, there’s a couple reasons Trank may not be the best model for those hoping Disney and Lucasfilm ditches Trevorrow. For one, the window is much narrower. Star Wars: Episode IX is far into pre-production and due out in theaters in May of 2019. That’s two years away, rather than three. But the biggest reason is that Trank wasn’t fired for making a garbage movie. It wasn’t Fantastic Four ’s quality that did him in, but his “unprofessional” behavior on set, which forced producer Simon Kinberg to step in and complete the shoot.

Chances are Colin Trevorrow will still direct Star Wars: Episode IX. But it’s nice to dream.

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