Rian Johnson Takes Over STAR WARS EPISODE VIII Writing And Directing Duties

J.J. Abrams may be kicking off the new Star Wars trilogy, but apparently Disney and Lucasfilm have someone else in mind for continuing it. It was announced today that Rian Johnson, director of the time travel hit Looper, will write and direct Star Wars Episode VIII. Johnson is the fourth director to join the new Star Wars relaunch after Abrams, Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank. Johnson hasn’t commented officially on his hiring, although he did post this video on his Twitter account.

Now, here’s where things get confusing. In the original Deadline scoop, they stated that Johnson would also be writing and directing Episode IX. However, other publications like The Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap are saying this isn’t the case. Apparently Johnson will write a treatment for the ninth film, but not direct it. This means we could potentially see a different director for each film of the trilogy, and by extension all of the announced Star Wars films so far.


Bringing in a new director might sound odd at first, but it really isn’t. The Star Wars universe may be George Lucas’ creation, but remember that he didn’t direct all of the films. Irvin Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back and Richard Marquand directed Return of the Jedi. Maybe if Lucas had given up the director’s chair to someone else in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the prequels could have been dramatically improved…I digress. My point is that this time around, Disney and Lucasfilm may be looking to have a different creative vision for each film.


I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought Abrams was in this for the long run, but if you think about it, this falls into line with what they’ve done with the previous trilogies. Episodes IV and I were the more self-contained stories compared to the latter two installments in their respective trilogy. That being said, there better be some grand outline for how this new trilogy will go. With an epic franchise like Star Wars, you need to plan ahead rather than write as you go, so Johnson needs to collaborate closely with Abrams rather than just completely go off in a separate direction. This isn’t one of the spinoff films.

As for the Abrams haters out there who might be saying that Disney is doing this because they don’t like where he’s going with Episode VII, remember that filming hasn’t even finished on that yet. If anything, Abrams might have just wanted to kick things off, but never be permanently involved, like Jason Segel did with The Muppets. Yup, a Star Wars and Muppets comparison. I went there.

SOURCE: Deadline