I’ve always found the intersection of fan culture and Hollywood to be endlessly fascinating. When Joss Whedon took over the reigns of Marvel’s The Avengers, for example, it kicked off a period where a filmmaker’s talent behind the scenes was marketed less heavily than their reverence for the source material. Whedon once wrote a series of X-Men comic books; Duncan Jones had spent years playing the Warcraft MMORPG; Neill Blomkamp adored the Alien franchise; Rian Johnson was an unparalleled Star Wars nerd. It was no longer enough for a studio to hire a director with vision and talent, you also needed to hire someone who identified - or could as least pass a skill check - with the very audience you were trying to target.

We’ve now seen that twice over with Colin Trevorrow. First Trevorrow made Jurassic World as a lifelong fan of the original film; now he’s reminding us that he’s the right man for a Star Wars movie because he’s also a super-fan of the franchise. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via Vulture), Trevorrow directly addressed comments by his critics that the failure of The Book of Henry left him an unsuitable director for Star Wars: Episode IX. Here’s what Trevorrow had to say:

Not only did I grow up on these stories, like all of us did, [but] I think that the values of Star Wars are values that I hold very close and very dear in my life. I feel that the message of the way that the Force teaches you to treat other people and show respect for others, and the way it guides you through life, is really important to me. And I hope everybody would realize that that set of stories has affected me as deeply in my life as it has affected them.

Look, I’m not going to take any more potshots at Trevorrow - I feel like he’s gotten enough of that in the past few weeks to last a lifetime - but for the first time, it seems like Lucasfilm might actually be behind the curve on the spin. This is the downside of locking in directors years before the film even goes into production; if the director’s intervening films don’t do well with audiences or critics, right or wrong, you open yourself to second-guessing about the filmmaker you’ve hired. Trevorrow might be the right man for Star Wars: Episode IX, but we won’t find out one way or the other for years, and that means a lot more articles like this along the way.

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