‘Star Wars: Episode 8′ To Be Written and Directed By Rian Johnson

Published 10 months ago by

star wars episode 7 release date2 Star Wars: Episode 8 To Be Written and Directed By Rian Johnson

Just when the future of the Star Warsseries seemed possible to guess, the studio has thrown another curveball. With J.J. Abrams hard at work filming Star Wars: Episode VII , it has been announced that writer and director Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, Looper) will not only be taking over as director for Episode VIII, but will be writing the script as well.

According to Deadline, the deal that would see the writer and director of Looper and indie hit Brick take over one of the most iconic and groundbreaking movie franchises in history is in its final stages. While the outlet reports that Johnson is in place to write and direct both the 8th and 9th “episode,” a conflicting report from TheWrap claims that while Johnson is also set to provide a script and story treatment for Episode IX, he is not planned to direct it (at least, not at this moment).

Presumably, Johnson’s writing skills would be put to work alongside the likes of Lawrence Kasdan (currently rumored to be leading the charge on the spin-off Boba Fett film) and Simon Kinberg, along with whichever other screenwriters Disney turns to over the coming years for both mainline episodes and their many spin-off films.

Rian Johnson Looper Set Photo Star Wars: Episode 8 To Be Written and Directed By Rian Johnson

If true, it cements Disney’s (and to a large part, many other blockbuster studios at the moment) shift from established but well-known directors to up-and-coming young talent. Johnson is far from unproven at this point, but with Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) handling the first spin-off and Johnson setting the path for the franchise’s final chapter, it’s safe to say that Star Wars is being placed in the hands of younger talent than ever before.

It was never in doubt that droves of hopeful movie fans would rush to see the next chapter(s) in the Star Wars saga, but by calling on the talents of Kinberg, Edwards, screenwriter Gary Whitta, and now Rian Johnson, Disney is making sure that those following Hollywood’s new wave of underrated (or under-served) talent will be just as interested to see what transpires.

Hopefully an official announcement from Disney will be coming soon, but for the time being, Johnson took it upon himself to Tweet out the following clip from The Right Stuff (1983):

That seems about as close to a confirmation as we’re going to get for the moment, so what do you think of Johnson’s selection? Is he the kind of talent that will help bring a singular vision for the Star Wars universe, or would you rather the job go to a writer/director with a bit more blockbuster work under their belt? Sound off in the comments.


Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Deadline, TheWrap, Rian Johnson

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. Although I would like JJ Abrams to direct all 3, having three different directors will make all the movies unique and fresh. Similar to the Original Trilogy, those movies had 3 different directors as well. I like where this Star Wars vision is going

  2. Wow, i love looper so much!! And for those Breaking Bads lovers, do u know Rian was the director of the loved “Ozymandias” episode? :D

    • Replace Hank with Han, Walter with Luke, Jesse with Leia and Jack with Bobba and make a comparable scene. Dat Breaking Star Wars.

  3. I have been very impressed with Disney’s consistency with directors for their live action projects.


  4. Brilliant. enough said.

  5. I’m not a fan of any of his films but I hope he could prove me wrong.

  6. Wish they would go with other directors !
    Not enough they bring him in to direct,butthey even want to let this Guy write it :(

  7. This is very very good.

  8. “It’s a given that Star Wars makes big money and sells lots of merchandise.”

    I disagree. It’s not a given. It’s expected but it’s no given. If anyone think’s it’s a given that’s just another tribute to Lucas who makes it seem so. Certainly there is a certain level that one would think is likely to achieve. Lucas though was not one to stress test it as he didn’t do what he easily could have and partner with FOX in some financing deal after III and pump out movie after movie like Disney is going to do.

    I have no doubt there will be certain levels of success for the episodes and maybe less so success for the stand alones. The corporate Star Wars is eventually going to change the franchise from events that are in the movies to simply event movies then to a Star Wars movie.

    “But I think that the prequels would have turned out better if he had utilized a more collaborative approach with the writing and directing. Not because of my subjective gripes with his story, but because the execution of it was sub-par. The prequels, in my view, are a cautionary tale of what happens when one person tries to control too much himself, rather than a ringing endorsement of George Lucas as a visionary.”

    Sorry but your view of the execution is once again subjective. I think the execution was rather brilliant. I would also recommend looking into how the PT was made. I find that people make all kinds of assumptions that when they look into it find out they are very mistaken in what they think happened. They also seem to not realize how the OT was made and how similar the whole process for both really was.

    The fact is on these movies especially ones the scale and scope of the PT which dwarfs the making of the OT on every level in just about every conceivable way no one person can have full control. He could take control of certain things at certain points and give lots of guidance but he had to hand over lots of control to his heads of department. People who he believed in.

    The scale of the PT was so vast that each of those heads were in essence directors themselves. He was the lead director but he couldn’t exert the same level of control on the PT like he did the OT on a day to day basis. There was simply too much to do. He had the final approval of course and if there were things he didn’t like then he could get that changed but he had to pick and choose what. His ultimate control was in the editing room.

    I find that the people who really hate the PT seem to most often come down to the same basic thing over and over again. “Why didn’t you just make them like the OT?” The answer is of course he already made them and now he’s going to present a different vision of the universe that he couldn’t possibly do before.

    I think that a lot of people will be very happy with the new movies. They will probably be very safe and do what people want them to do. This of course is something that Lucas never did. He made the movies he wanted to see not the movies that other people wanted him to make.

    • ^^^
      Good assessment. I don’t know if anyone read it but it was smart.

    • You echo my very words

  9. I haven’t seen Looper but I have heard some pretty positive things about it I’m looking forward to episode 7 and I think that Johnson will be an excellent choice of director he seems like he knows how to work character, story, action and in Looper’s case Sci-Fi. Looking forward to this.

  10. So with no J.J. on Episodes 8 and 9 we’re all gonna remember Episode 7 as the one with all the lens flares.

  11. I may be by myself on this, but I hope they bring classic Jedi like Mace Windu and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan back as ghosts. Mace never got a lot of screen time and Ewan was one of the bright points in the prequel trilogy.

    • Obi-Wan’s force ghost is gone and even if he did appear, he certainly wouldn’t be played by Ewan McGregor: replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christensen made sense (sort of) since there’s a certain logic in seeing Anakin returning as he was before being corrupted by Palpatine. However, where would be the logic in seeing Obi-Wan becoming young again after having been seen as the ghost of an elderly man 30 years earlier?

  12. Looper was a great character driven film with the right amount of action. I’m really looking forward to this fine directorial choice. I personally dig him more than JJ so far.

  13. Personally, I always thought that Stephen Spielberg would do a great job on a Star Wars Movie. The directors guild snafu no longer exists now that Disney is in charge.

    • Ouch! Spielby and Disney? Together?! I could sure see the former at the helm of an episode, but this could easily turn into Syrup Central…

  14. Hell yes.

  15. Johnson just pissed off the fanboy Prequel haters by expressing a positive comment about the Prequel movies. My kind of guy.

  16. Obviously, Disney hopes the original cast will help make Episode VII a success. What happens if it really works (and it will likely work)? If fans and critics applauds Episode 7, would Disney would push to have the original cast make a small cameo appearance in Episode 8 as well. I would be in favor of it and would love to see a very small cameo for Lando Calrissian in Episode 8 as well.

    May the force be with you.

  17. i can wait for the next star wars episode 8 they should call the title knights of the old republic based on the video games they should cast wwe diva eva marie to play mara jade on both star wars movies and cast ashley rickards as ania solo in both star wars series