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J.J. Abrams returns to write and direct "Star Wars: Episode IX"

J.J. Abrams is jumping back into the "Star Wars" universe. The "Force Awakens" director is returning to the franchise to write and direct "Star Wars: Episode IX."

Lucasfilm announced the news on Tuesday, days after news broke about the departure of Colin Trevorrow, who was previously attached to direct the film.

"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," said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.

New "Star Wars" trailer has been released

With "Star Wars: Episode IX," Abrams will close out the sequel trilogy he launched with "The Force Awakens"; Rian Johnson is directing the second film, "The Last Jedi." 

Abrams will co-write "Episode IX" with Chris Terrio and the film will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm.

"The Force Awakens" was a critical and commercial success, with a $238 million opening weekend in December 2015 that made it the biggest North American debut until 2017's "The Fate of the Furious."

"Star Wars: Episode IX" is set for release in 2019; "The Last Jedi" hits theaters Dec. 15.

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