Rian Johnson's upcoming new Star Wars trilogy might not feature any familiar characters, but the director will still maintain the franchise's trademark spirit. Johnson had such a great experience with Lucasfilm on last year's The Last Jedi that all the parties involved opted to keep the collaboration going by developing a series of films set outside the Skywalker saga. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was so enamored by the concept, she green lit the trilogy without so much as a storyline in place, and now work on the project is beginning.
Obviously, details are scarce at the moment, but we do know that Johnson wants to map out the full narrative before production starts on the first installment, and he's not letting the divisive reactions to Episode VIII influence his creative choices. Johnson is still in the early going of putting together a plan, but he seems to have the right approach in mind, if his latest comments are any indication.
In an interview with Digital Spy, the director talked about his mindset as he looks to tackle the gargantuan task of crafting an entirely new Star Wars story from scratch:
"I'm looking at everything right now. I'm honestly just in this very nice 'OK, what is this thing going to be?' phase. Really, the only goal I have is to think about how Star Wars made me feel as a kid. And that's it. I'm trying to capture: what is that, if it's not iconography that we recognize, necessarily, from the original trilogy? What captures that spirit? What can be that for a kid who's never heard of Star Wars? It's getting back to the very fundamental questions of what makes this what it is."
The first few Star Wars movies of the property's renaissance have leaned heavily on classic imagery and characters to draw fans in. It's hard to argue with the results of this strategy, but at some point, Lucasfilm is going to have to move past the legacy elements and really expand their horizons well beyond the foundation of the original trilogy. Between Johnson's trilogy and the series being developed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, it looks like the studio is ready to launch this new era after Episode IX comes out next December. Star Wars is one of the few franchises in the industry that can actually get away with this approach, since the name can sell viewers on its own. The fan base is so expansive, odds are any movie can be a hit - even if there are no Skywalkers involved.
The trick for Johnson will be to tap into a different kind of nostalgia - one that relies on how Star Wars makes us feel, rather than just seeing well-known aspects that have been associated with the brand since 1977. As long as this new trilogy underscores the essence of the series, it should be able to connect with audiences. It'll be interesting to see how people react as the movies start to come into fruition (since Last Jedi was divisive), but perhaps since this will be a fresh story without any ties to the classic saga, viewers will be more open to what Johnson has in store. Unlike Luke Skywalker, there won't be any preconceived feelings of ownership over the Johnson Trilogy characters.
Source: Digital Spy
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019