In yet another example of “if I haven’t heard it, it’s new to me,” word is spreading once again that Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson was not involved in the scripting process for Star Wars: Episode IX. The confirmation comes straight from Johnson, who was asked on Twitter if he wrote the story treatment for Episode IX, to which he replied:
@mattpeto That’s old info, I haven’t been involved in writing IX.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) April 24, 2017
This info can actually be traced all the way back to when Johnson first signed on to write and direct The Last Jedi, as one of the trades reported that in addition to writing Episode VIII, Johnson would be writing the treatment and/or script for Episode IX. A few months later Lucasfilm set Colin Trevorrow to direct Episode IX and announced that he’d also be co-writing the film with his writing partner Derek Connolly, which put the notion that Johnson would be writing Episode IX to rest.
But that’s not to say Johnson hasn’t had input into Episode IX. Trevorrow and Connolly are deep into the screenwriting process on the trilogy concluding installment of this new Star Wars franchise, but last year Trevorrow revealed that he and Johnson were “working closely together”:
“A story must evolve or perish, and Rian and I are working closely together to make sure our stories build off of each other and continue to evolve and take us to new places, and I think that’s what the fans expect and what they want.”
Indeed, Johnson also worked with J.J. Abrams, albeit not quite as closely since Abrams was in the whirlwind of trying to finish Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Johnson was deep in the scripting phase of The Last Jedi. But as the Force Awakens story evolved, especially during reshoots, and as audiences responded to the film, Johnson made some adjustments to his Last Jedi script to ensure the sequel would fit well with what Abrams had done. Reportedly one of the major changes was increasing the screentime of Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, who was originally supposed to die in The Force Awakens.
But just as Force Awakens evolved in post-production, so too could The Last Jedi. As with most blockbusters nowadays, the film will likely undergo some reshoots and additional photography, and that may impact what Trevorrow and Connolly have planned for Episode IX, which won’t start shooting until 2018.
Regardless, we can now definitively, once again, say that Rian Johnson did not write the script or story treatment for Star Wars: Episode IX. That’s on Trevorrow and Connolly.