J.J. Abrams will write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX, the third film in the franchise's new trilogy, StarWars.com announced Tuesday.
Abrams also directed the first film in the trilogy, The Force Awakens, in 2015; the second film, The Last Jedi, is directed by Rian Johnson and will be released later this year.
Abrams replaces director Colin Trevorrow at the helm of the yet-untitled Episode IX after Disney parted with him last week due to a difference in "visions" for the finale. "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 in a statement. Jeva Lange
Former President Barack Obama is returning from his tropical star-studded vacation to speak with people at the University of Chicago on Monday in what will be his first speech since exiting the White House in January, the Chicago Tribune reports. Obama and the "young leaders" will reportedly "hold a conversation on civic engagement and discuss community organizing," the Tribune writes.
The event, which will draw hundreds, is already sold out, but it will also be televised. While Obama's schedule is not public, he is expected to be in the city for "a couple of days."
"He's really excited to go back to Chicago and have a conversation about community organizing and civic engagement," said Obama's spokesman, Kevin Lewis.
An official announcement read: "This event is part of President Obama's post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world." Jeva Lange
Now here is a face we haven't seen on late night television in quite some time — former President George W. Bush. Although Bush, in his Tuesday night "appearance" on @Midnight With Chris Hardwick, happened to look suspiciously similar to Will Ferrell, who impersonated the Texan to hilarious ends throughout the last Republican presidency.
On the show, Bush/Ferrell insisted on saying a few words to defend the family honor after his cousin, Billy Bush, was caught making lewd comments on an Access Hollywood tape with Donald Trump (or, as he is known in the Bush family, "that disgraced pumpkin").
"I just want to say one thing. We Bushes don't act like that, okay," explained "Bush," but what specifically he is talking about you probably won't guess. Watch for the punchline, below. Jeva Lange
Former Late Show host David Letterman emerged from the North Pole (or wherever he's been since retiring) to weigh in on the rise of Donald Trump. While talking with Tom Brokaw on NBC's Dateline, Letterman cut his signature humor to say that as weird as this primary season has been, Trump won the Republican nomination fair and square:
— NBC News PR (@NBCNewsPR) June 10, 2016
But if anything, that's even more concerning to Letterman. "He's despicable," he told Brokaw. "And in this very school, and in everybody's school, you hear the great thing about America is anybody can grow up to be president. Oh jeez, I guess that might be true." Jeva Lange
After a prominent North Korean general abruptly vanished from state news reports in February, South Korean officials reported he had been executed on corruption charges. On Tuesday, however, North Korea's state media made it clear that General Ri Yong-gil was very much alive — in fact, he'd just been promoted.
General Ri was one of several who were appointed to senior positions during the Workers' Party congress that wrapped up on Monday, the first such gathering in North Korea in 36 years, The New York Times reports. Ri had been the third-ranking figure in the army when he was reported to have been executed. Now it is believed he was simply demoted.
— DanieleRmito (@DanielRmito) February 12, 2016
Pictures released by North Korean media on Tuesday show General Ri wearing three, rather than four, stars — indeed indicating he had been reduced in rank. Ri is one of several supposedly "executed" officials who have resurfaced alive and well later, proving how difficult it is to gain reliable intelligence out of North Korea. Jeva Lange
Donald Trump expects to have a vice presidential pick ready to reveal in July, before the Republican National Convention, and he announced Wednesday that Dr. Ben Carson will be helping him to reach a decision on that running mate, The New York Times reports.
Trump also said he is leaning toward picking "a political person" for his VP since "I have business very much covered." Trump plans to use a committee to decide on his vice presidential pick, and that's where Ben Carson comes in: "I think on the committee I'll have Dr. Ben Carson and some other folks," Trump said. The other folks have yet to be announced.
Mitt Romney will be addressing the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah on Thursday, his office reports. There, Romney will be discussing "the state of the 2016 presidential race."
Just in: Mitt Romney "to speak on the state of the 2016 Presidential race" on Thursday in Salt Lake City. pic.twitter.com/w8qtAJV0Tl
— Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) March 2, 2016
Romney has been largely critical of Donald Trump, calling the Republican frontrunner's hesitation to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke "disgusting" and insisting that Trump should release his tax returns. Romney's decision to speak comes at a key time, just two days after Trump dominated Super Tuesday.
“Tonight, Chestnut. Tonight we ride, to Utah.” pic.twitter.com/vAoKFwJCBP
— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) March 2, 2016