Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII and possibly IX!
Johnson is widely regarded as a science fiction fan and has shown a huge amount of potential in his debut film BRICK as well as last year's LOOPER. Shockingly, having J.J. leave the franchise after one film is the biggest surprise. We never heard that Abrams had a long term deal and just assumed he would be helming the entire trilogy. Rumors surfaced early in pre-production on STAR WARS: EPISODE VII that Abrams was having creative issues with Lucasfilm and Disney despite both parties denying it.
I would assume at this point that Bad Robot will remain a producer for the continuing ruin of the new STAR WARS trilogy and possibly the spin-offs as well. In either case, this continues Disney and Lucasfilm's trend of hiring young up and coming filmmakers to shepherd in the new era of George Lucas' saga. GODZILLA's Gareth Edwards is helming the first standalone film slated for release on December 16, 2016 with THE FANTASTIC FOUR and CHRONICLE director Josh Trank handling the 2018 spin-off film.
Rumors of Rian Johnson's involvement have been swirling for a while. The director himself may have revealed the news to us over a month ago and we all missed it. Check out his tweet below.
Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) May 23, 2014
The Wrap is disputing the breaking news posted by Deadline and say that while Rian Johnson is writing and directing STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII, he is not directing EPISODE IX. They do claim he is writing the treatment for STAR WARS: EPISODE IX, so it is possible that we may get a different filmmaker for every STAR WARS film from here on out.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII is scheduled to hit theaters on December 18, 2015. STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII and IX are scheduled for release in 2017 and 2019.
UPDATE: Here is Rian Johnson's tweet following the reveal of this stunning news.
Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 20, 2014