J.J. Abrams returning to write and direct Star Wars Episode IX is news in and of itself, but a good co-writer is key. Abrams wrote The Force Awakens with Star Wars vet Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi back in the day (he’s also writing the upcoming Han Solo film with son Jon). Abrams’ Episode IX partner is Chris Terrio, and that’s a whole different story.
Terrio has about seven major film writing credits, including a short film and some additional writing credits. His biggest title? Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Well, that’s not entirely fair. Terrio did do the screenplay for 2012’s Argo, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and a Best Adapted Screenplay award for Terrio himself.
That’s a major achievement, but when it comes to writing Star Wars, experience in a sprawling franchise like the DC extended universe is probably more relevant. Batman v Superman made over $870 million at the box office but was ruthlessly eviscerated by critics and many fans of the comics and characters.
Warner Bros. gave Terrio, a man, another chance at delivering a success with Justice League (he shares a story credit with Zack Snyder and a screenwriting credit with Joss Whedon), but the project has been plagued by rewrites and reshoots that spelled disaster for Suicide Squad.
In August, word on the street was that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child scribe Jack Thorne was assisting with Episode IX rewrites, but that was way back when Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was helming the project.
For a film more than two years out from its release, Episode IX has been at the center of a lot of untold developmental drama — all this from a studio and production company that should run like a well-oiled machine. Perhaps Abrams is the writing partner Terrio needs to finally strike massive franchise gold. Who knows — maybe Justice League will benefit from the reshoots and blow us all away, in which case excitement for Terrio’s crack at Star Wars will reach new heights.
Either way, we have some time to kill — and at least two Star Wars movies on the way before that.