Rian Johnson to Write and Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII; Will Write Treatment for STAR WARS: EPISODE IX

     June 20, 2014

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Well here’s some fucking amazing news.  According to Deadline, Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, and The Wrap reports that he write a treatment for Star Wars: Episode IX.  As a fan of all three of Johnson’s films—Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper—I could not be more excited.  This is the big break his fans have been hoping for, and it doesn’t get bigger than Star Wars.  The fact that he gets Episode VIII and gets to have input on Episode IX is not only gravy, but it’s also a smart move on the part of Disney and Lucasfilm

Hit the jump for more.

Deadline reports that Johnson will “get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile.”  While Deadline reported that Johnson would be directing both Episode VIII and IX, The Wrap says he’ll only be writing the treatment on Episode IXVariety confirms that Johnson is on board to write and direct Episode VIII.  As for the filmmaker himself, he wryly tweeted out the following video:

Let’s boot up the Speculation Machine, shall we?

star-wars-episode-7-castStar Wars: Episode VII director J.J. Abrams has his movie sending off the original series’ protagonists Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han (Harrison Ford), but it would also presumably lay the groundwork for all of the new characters and cast members: Lupita Nyong’o, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, and Max von Sydow.  In a way, Star Wars: Episode VII now sounds more like a transition film since there will be one person involved with the final two episodes.

If that’s the case, it makes sense to give the final two movies over to a single filmmaker who can both write and direct.  The pre-production on Episode VII hit a speed bump when Abrams decided to throw out Michael Arndt’s script and write a new one with Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back).  This isn’t to say that it will all be smooth sailing for Johnson, but having the writer and director on Episode VIII be the same person might help prevent unexpected rewrites.  Furthermore, having Johnson provide the treatment for Episode IX will give some sense of continuity, but I’m inclined to believe he won’t direct the film since Disney will want to get moving on the final sequel as quickly as possible.

Again, I can’t overstate how happy I am that Johnson is getting to do Star Wars.  I was mostly uninterested in this franchise, and now I’m willing to engage in one of my worst behaviors: Looking past the immediate future to something in the distance because I find it more interesting.  It may be teaser culture, but I find Johnson to be an exciting filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see what happens when he goes to a galaxy far, far away.

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