Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson says the new trilogy he was recently announced to be developing will not be connected to the current Star Wars trilogy "at all." Johnson has said he has "no limitations" when it comes to conceiving this new trilogy of films, a further sign that Disney and Lucasfilm have great confidence in the director after his work on The Last Jedi, the second film in the current trilogy.
With only a few smaller movies, a handful of TV episodes and one relatively high-profile studio film (Looper) under his belt, Rian Johnson seemed an unlikely choice to follow in the footsteps of Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. Unlike Chris Lord and Phil Miller, Gareth Edwards and Colin Trevorrow, all of whom found themselves being replaced at various stages during production of their own Star Wars projects, Johnson managed to stick it out all the way through the making of The Last Jedi, and was rewarded by being given the keys to his own new trilogy. Speculation about the potential subject-matter for this new trio of films is sure to rage hot-and-heavy among fans, but for Johnson's part, all he will say is that the new movies will take place in a part of the galaxy never-before explored in Star Wars, involving totally new characters.
Speaking exclusively to Screen Rant, Johnson reiterated that the new trilogy (which he is still in the very early stages of conceiving) will be entirely unconnected from the current trilogy of films. When asked if the new trilogy would in any way jump off from Star Wars 9, which J.J. Abrams will return to direct, Johnson clarified that his new movies will be their own separate thing:
Well, no. So, he's going to do the next episode, so do the final chapter of this trilogy, and then I'm just completely, separately going to be coming up with a whole new trilogy that won't be connected to this at all. I'm just going to come up with something new and do it.
The prospect of a completely new trilogy taking place in the Star Wars universe, but not directly connected to the current trilogy or the Skywalker storyline, is exciting for fans who think perhaps The Force Awakens and the non-trilogy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were a bit lacking in originality. Star Wars (many people would argue) doesn't need more movies that merely hew to the formats of the original films (sometimes recreating the older movies beat-for-beat), but needs wholly fresh ideas dreamed up by filmmakers who are not restricted by studio mandates to protect the brand at the expense of real creativity.
Though Johnson sounds like he has been given free-rein to create something completely new and original within the larger universe, it's fair to wonder how much freedom he will really have, once the time comes to actually write and direct the new movies. Who can say where the Star Wars franchise will be in terms of overall health by the time the spinoff Solo: A Star Wars Story and the final episode in the current trilogy have come and gone. If things don't go as planned with those movies, Disney and Lucasfilm might be compelled to play it safe, in which case Johnson's trilogy might not stray as far from the established formula as he hopes.
Before Johnson can get to work re-inventing Star Wars, as far as he is allowed to do so, his completed Star Wars: The Last Jedi must have its day of reckoning in front of fans.
- 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