Lucasfilm have confirmed that J.J. Abrams will be revisiting the Star Wars universe by directing and co-writing Episode IX following Colin Trevorrow's recent departure.
The news is not really surprising: Abrams has worked on all three of the new main-sequence films as a producer and was also available. It looked like Abrams was gunning for directing a fourth Star Trek reboot movie, but with Paramount still hesitant about pulling the trigger on the film following Star Trek Beyond's disappointing box office, he had a hole in his schedule. In addition, with Episode IX due to commence filming in the next couple of months, an experienced director with some existing involvement in the film's development and conception makes a lot of sense.
Some fans will no doubt be disappointed, though. Abrams did a reasonably good job on The Force Awakens, but the movie did have some problems (such as the resurfacing of Abrams' bizarre inability to understand how big space is) and many of its strengths were down to Lawrence Kasdan's writing. Kasdan is retiring from writing Star Wars after the upcoming Han Solo spin-off movie, so will not have a hand in this movie. Instead, Chris Terrio will co-write the movie with Abrams (based on a story developed by Rian Johnson). Terrio is best-known as the co-writer of, er, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice but, more hopefully, he also won an Oscar for writing Argo.
Lucasfilm are also understood to have explored the possibility of Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (due in cinemas in December), directing the movie. However, Johnson is still editing the movie and putting it through post-production for the next three months, whilst Episode IX needs to go into pre-production yesterday to hit its intended release date.
Star Wars: Episode IX is due for release in May 2019, although don't be surprised at all if this slips to December instead.
UPDATE: It's now been confirmed that Episode IX will debut in December 2019. This will give Abrams more time to get up to speed on the movie and will also resolve Disney's scheduling issue of launching two massive movies (Episode IX and Avengers: Infinity War Part II) within a couple of weeks of one another.