Movies | September 21, 2017 5:00 am

Why ‘Star Wars’ Director J.J. Abrams Left Paramount for ‘Episode IX’

He will work on 'Star Wars' for Lucasfilm despite his deal with Paramount.

J.J. Abrams
J.J. Abrams attends 2017 Hulu Upfront on May 3, 2017 in New York City. (John Lamparski/WireImage)

J.J. Abrams has agreed to make Star Wars: Episode IX with Lucasfilms, even though he has a $10 million obligation to Paramount, The Hollywood Reporter writes.

Abrams was asked to step in when Lucasfilm parted ways with Colin Trevorrow, who was supposed to write and direct the film. He was enticed by the “once-now-twice-in-a-lifetime experience” according to The Hollywood Reporter, and all parties understood that.

Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos accommodated the move, even if he wasn’t happy about it, a source told The Hollywood Reporter. Disagreeing with Abrams would have meant Gianopulos going head to head with Lucasfilm, Disney and possibly even Steven Spielberg, who has taken credit for geating Abrams to do Star Wars in the first place.

Paramount will get some money in the deal, but not much, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Over his time with Paramount, Abrams’ films have grossed $5.7 billion.

One producer from Abrams’ movies told The Hollywood Reporter that Abrams is “operating a machinery, an enterprise.” If Paramount decided to pass and not accommodate Abrams, someone else would. Therefore, The Hollywood Reporter writes, Paramount will probably try to renew Abrams’ deal.