The future of the Star Wars franchise is starting to come into focus. It’s hard to believe we’re now five years removed from Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, which subsequently spawned a new trilogy of Star Wars movies that began with The Force Awakens as well as the creation of anthology-like spinoff films, which began with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But as Episode IX’s 2019 release looms closer, Lucasfilm and Disney are starting to look to how this franchise will continue once the story of Rey, Finn, etc. is complete.
The first major step was announced last month with the news that Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson will develop a brand new trilogy of Star Wars movies featuring new characters and new settings, offering our first entirely-new Star Wars films since George Lucas’s 1977 original. Details on this new trilogy are scarce beyond the fact that Johnson will at least write and direct the first installment, so when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub spoke with Johnson at the press day for The Last Jedi, he had some questions.
It’s very clearly still early days on this new Star Wars trilogy, but Johnson revealed how the idea came about and confirmed that he never intended to direct Star Wars: Episode IX:
“It was totally separate, it was never in the cards for me to [direct Episode 9]. I was always gonna finish [The Last Jedi] and then hand it off to the next filmmaker. But the idea for the new trilogy was completely separate; it just came because we were getting to the end of this process and kind of getting sad that we had to stop working. But like Kathy [Kennedy] and all the folks at Disney, we were just like, ‘We’ve had a really good time. How do we keep this party going a little longer?’”
Johnson’s pitch was pretty simple—new, new, new:
“We were just generally talking about what could we do and I was like, ‘What would be most interesting to me is…’ and then I just said—it wasn’t even a specific pitch, the pitch was: ‘A new trilogy. Three movies, one story. New characters, new places. Let’s start fresh.’ That was the most exciting thing I could possibly think of and Kathy really responded to that and we’re gonna give it a shot.”
The filmmaker revealed that it’s possible he could direct all three films in this new trilogy, but it’s also possible he only directs one. The only thing that’s certain right now is that he’s going to map out the entire three-movie story arc before things move forward:
“Honestly I don’t know yet [if I’ll direct all three]. I know I’m gonna come up with the whole thing, the idea is to come up with one big story, but I know I’m gonna write and direct at least the first one. Then I’m gonna have to—even the first one at this point we’re still figuring it out, so I don’t know yet. But I know I want to come up with the whole thing and then we’ll see.”
No timetable has been given with regards to when the first movie in this new trilogy might hit theaters, but it’ll likely be sooner rather than later. While a film about Obi-Wan Kenobi is reportedly in the early stages of development, next year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story is the only other Star Wars movie that’s been officially announced aside from J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX. Disney wants a brand new Star Wars movie in theaters every year, so it’s not hard to imagine the first film in Johnson’s new trilogy hitting theaters in 2020 or 2021.