Rian Johnson's new Star Wars trilogy pitch to Lucasfilm didn't include an actual story, according to The Last Jedi filmmaker. It seems that when the writer/director pitched the idea of a new trilogy set in a galaxy far, far away to studio heads, he didn't have a plot idea attached to the epic proposal - other than he wanted to do it.
The news that Johnson is crafting a new Star Wars trilogy took most fans by surprise, and not just because the news broke well before The Last Jedi's release date. There had previously been no hint that Lucasfilm, which has aggressively expanded the Star Wars franchise since being acquired by Disney, was planning anything outside of the Skywalker Saga and spinoff films like Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, it turns out that the freshness of Johnson's mysterious trilogy was the selling point. The pitch was accepted simply on the faith that the filmmaker would create a great story, not because he had anything planned.
Johnson spoke to SlashFilm about his new trilogy, while promoting the release of The Last Jedi this week. The director explained that as tight-lipped as he's been about his trilogy, there's also not much to say right now - seeing as the project is in its very beginning stages of development. When prompted to talk about how the trilogy came to be, Johnson explained:
It came about because we were getting to the end of making [Last Jedi] and again, I knew I wasn’t doing the next one. And I had had a really good time not just making this movie, but working with Kathy and also working with Disney, working with Bob Iger, Alan Horn, and Alan Berg. And we just had just a really good experience. And we were all…it was like last week of senior year. We were cleaning out our lockers. And all getting kind of sad. And saying, how do we keep working together? And that I threw out, I said, the most interesting thing to me would be a new trilogy, one story told over three movies. Go new places, meet new folks, come up with a new story to tell in the Star Wars universe. The sky’s the limit. That sounds thrilling. And they really responded to that. So we’re off, yeah.
Luckily for everyone involved, their faith in Johnson appears for the moment to be well-placed. The reviews for Last Jedi have proven to be rather spectacular. A large part of the film's success appears to be Johnson's direction. Still, it's rather unprecedented that such a huge franchise would make such a commitment with no firm story or concept in place. The Star Wars universe is huge, but to go off blind faith that some completely brand-new story will work is rather bold.
For his part, Johnson does seem to be sticking to the idea that his trilogy will be unprecedented. The director doesn't know what his trilogy will entail, but he does know what it will not cover. The trilogy will not be related to the current saga. It will not even adapt a popular expanded universe story like Knights of the Old Republic. The big screen Star Wars adaptations have never gone so off the standard formula, basically. It's an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan - but for the first time in a long while, it's also an unpredictable time.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019