Should we worry about Colin Trevorrow directing Star Wars: Episode IX?


After the release of critics’ unfavorable reviews of The Book of Henry, should we worry about director Colin Trevorrow helming Star Wars: Episode IX?

Critics are bashing Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow’s latest film. A lot.

The Book of Henry is about a young boy named (unsurprisingly) Henry. Henry, with the help of his mother Susan, plots to rescue their next-door neighbor, a girl around Henry’s age, from her abusive step-father. It sounds like an interesting story, right? But many of the critics who attended the film’s early screenings were not impressed.

Here is a snapshot of some of the most damning reviews, from Slate:

Poster for The Book of Henry. Image Credit: Focus Features (via ComingSoon.Net)

From Vince Mancini of Uproxx:

"“I realized I was probably going to hate Book of Henry inside of five minutes, probably around the time the 11-year-old protagonist jumped on a payphone to call his stockbroker after class and then went home to work on his Rube Goldberg machine.”"

From Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian:

"“In its pure misjudged ickiness, bad-acting ropiness, and its quirksy, smirksy passive-aggressive tweeness, this insidiously terrible film could hardly get any more skin-crawling.”"

From Ty Burr of The Boston Globe:

"“The plot proceeds from the charming to the manipulative to the shameless to the demented in gentle steps that may lull some audiences the way a frog can be boiled to death by degrees. Others may watch this movie through their fingers, suspended in the delight that can attend a truly wrongheaded movie.”"

Here’s where I’m going to get into some SPOILERS for the movie. If you plan on watching The Book of Henry, don’t read any further.

Apparently, the method Henry (played by Jaeden Lieberher) and his mother (Naomi Watts) use to solve their abusive neighbor problem is by murdering said neighbor. Yeah. Pretty disturbing, regardless of how abusive the man is.

Now, the question all the critics and entertainment reporters are asking is, can we trust Colin Trevorrow with Star Wars: Episode IX? Is the purportedly horrendous film which is The Book of Henry (I can’t judge it because I haven’t seen it yet) an indication that Trevorrow’s handling of IX will be just as slipshod?

The answer is “It depends.”

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 29: Director Colin Trevorrow at the CinemaCon 2017 Focus Features Red Carpet at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 29, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Scott Kirkland/PictureGroup)

The fact is that directors, even good ones, make bad movies. George Lucas, for example, made a cartoon in 2015 called Strange Magic which was a critical and box office bust. Steven Spielberg directed The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a sequel to the original Jurassic Park and widely considered to be one of the worst films in that franchise. Directors are people like everyone else, and like everyone else they make mistakes. They have bad days. Moreover, their vision for a film doesn’t always translate the right way (that was made clear with the prequel trilogy, the quality of which is still a source of fierce fan debate today).

If I am concerned about anything regarding Trevorrow, it is his apparent reliance on the script. Admittedly, Trevorrow didn’t write the script for The Book of Henry. Nevertheless, he should possess the initiative to make changes to a script if it is in any way problematic.

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The fact is Trevorrow has faced criticism for a screenplay before. For example, some critics and movie-goers vilified Jurassic World, Trevorrow’s first blockbuster hit, because of its abundance of tropes. Another contentious point of the film was a particularly disturbing scene in which one of the film’s three female characters is a victim of a vicious dinosaur attack.

The Jurassic World screenplay was written by Trevorrow but in collaboration with three other writers. I’m not suggesting Trevorrow isn’t responsible for either of his film’s failures. Clearly, he does not pay attention enough to glaring problems with a movie’s plot or characters. The question is whether this is because he always works with someone else on a script or if it is a trend he will continue to pursue. If the latter is the case, then yes, we might need to worry about his treatment of Episode IX.

One final thing to consider: Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy handpicked Trevorrow to direct Episode IX. I, for one, trust her judgment.

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What do you think of Colin Trevorrow’s track record? Are you still hopeful he will do well with Star Wars: Episode IX? Comment below.

Editor’s note: This article originally stated that the main character in The Book of Henry was played by Jacob Tremblay. That statement has been corrected to refer to actor Jaeden Lieberher, who plays Henry Carpenter.