Lucasfilm has just announced Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is developing a new trilogy in the Star Wars universe that is outside of the Skywalker Saga. Johnson is inching closer to launching the second installment of Lucasfilm's relaunched live-action Star Wars brand and all indications are he has nailed it. Many are so excited for his film, in fact, that he was the heavy favorite to take over Star Wars: Episode IX when Colin Trevorrow left.
Johnson reportedly passed on that project and has since been given to J.J. Abrams, leaving many to wonder why The Last Jedi director wouldn't want to return to a galaxy far, far away. Well, apparently he does and is going to in a big way.
Lucasfilm announced today that Rian Johnson is developing a new trilogy for Star Wars, in which he will write and direct the first installment. Johnson will also be joined by his longtime collaborator Ram Bergman. The new trilogy will star new and original characters "from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored." Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said the following about the deal:
Kennedy: We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi. He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”
"We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi,” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”
Most of the attention here is going to go to the excitement and endless possibilities that a creative mind like Johnson will create, but lets also take a moment to look at what brought Johnson to this place. As if there were any doubts that The Last Jedi was going to deliver, Lucasfilm locking Johnson down for a new trilogy is a clear indicator that The Last Jedi is going to deliver and Lucasfilm knowing they have a hit film and a director soon to be even more sought after on their hands. Guaranteeing years worth of Johnson's imprint on Star Wars is a great sign for The Last Jedi, but also for the future of Star Wars.
The current trilogy may have part of its focus on new characters, but it is also firmly part of the Skywalker Saga. The nature of this decision has drawn unavoidable comparisons to the original trilogy in terms of character arcs and the overall plot, but Johnson's creative juices will really get to flow here. Concentrating on new characters, worlds, and events that are totally outside of the Skywalker Saga will free him up even more, and give Star Wars the ability to continue to expand its catalogue and the universe in the years to come.
Lucasfilm has not yet announced any release dates for this new trilogy, but if they stay on their current plan of alternating between a trilogy installment and standalone film, the first of Johnson's new trilogy could come as soon as 2021 - after the third Star Wars Story in 2020. What this means for those loving the Star Wars renaissance on the big screen is there shouldn't be a lack of movies hitting theaters possibly up till 2025. Even though Johnson's focus is on the trilogy itself, it will be fascinating to see how much this expands the galaxy and if it launches new solo movies or spinoffs for characters from Johnson's world. Whatever the future holds for this new trilogy, it is clearly exciting.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017