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Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII and possibly IX!

Jun. 20, 2014by: Alex Maidy

J.J. Abrams will set 'em up, but Rian Johnson will knock them down as the huge news has dropped that the LOOPER director will write and direct both STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII and EPISODE 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.

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.

Source: Deadline

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+3
12:40PM on 06/21/2014

Can't wait...

Rian is the perfect choice to direct one of these movies. Beyond excited now.
Rian is the perfect choice to direct one of these movies. Beyond excited now.
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-1
10:32AM on 06/21/2014
Continued ruin? whatever happened to being impartial? the movie hasn't even been filmed. So far we have a few set pictures of a door/ATAT foot/whatever it was and a round table reading of the script. Oh and Ford broke his leg. How in the hell can this writer say the coninued ruin of the new Star Wars trilogy when we don't even have a single photo from the set?

Come on man, try to be a little bit impartial and wait until a trailer or more info before saying "ruin".
Continued ruin? whatever happened to being impartial? the movie hasn't even been filmed. So far we have a few set pictures of a door/ATAT foot/whatever it was and a round table reading of the script. Oh and Ford broke his leg. How in the hell can this writer say the coninued ruin of the new Star Wars trilogy when we don't even have a single photo from the set?

Come on man, try to be a little bit impartial and wait until a trailer or more info before saying "ruin".
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8:26AM on 06/23/2014
Can't tell whether you were joking or not, but I'm fairly sure 'ruin' was just a typo and meant to say 'run'.
Can't tell whether you were joking or not, but I'm fairly sure 'ruin' was just a typo and meant to say 'run'.
+0
5:16AM on 06/21/2014
Kinda feel bad for Matthew Vaughn. Dude passed up X Men cause he thought he was going to get Star Wars and now both franchises are moving on without him. Hope he rebounds.
Kinda feel bad for Matthew Vaughn. Dude passed up X Men cause he thought he was going to get Star Wars and now both franchises are moving on without him. Hope he rebounds.
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1:58AM on 06/21/2014
"I would assume at this point that Bad Robot will remain a producer for the continuing ruin of the new STAR WARS trilogy"

"ruin"?

I'm not sure if you meant "run" and this was a Freudian slip or you were deliberately making a snarky remark.
"I would assume at this point that Bad Robot will remain a producer for the continuing ruin of the new STAR WARS trilogy"

"ruin"?

I'm not sure if you meant "run" and this was a Freudian slip or you were deliberately making a snarky remark.
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1:47AM on 06/21/2014
Wow, I really like this news a lot. I'm glad that Disney/Lucasfilm are hiring different directors to helm each individual movie. I didn't actually want Abrams to direct the entire trilogy, so this awesome to hear. I feel like directors can get into creative ruts if they stay with one property for too long, so I'm glad that Lucasfilm is keeping it fresh.
Wow, I really like this news a lot. I'm glad that Disney/Lucasfilm are hiring different directors to helm each individual movie. I didn't actually want Abrams to direct the entire trilogy, so this awesome to hear. I feel like directors can get into creative ruts if they stay with one property for too long, so I'm glad that Lucasfilm is keeping it fresh.
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11:28PM on 06/20/2014

I love this!

This is the best Star Wars news we could've gotten! Unexceptional director who is witty and imaginative stepping up like this is going to mean the world of difference in this franchise! We may see a whole new and exciting chapter in starwars history! I couldn't be happier about this news
This is the best Star Wars news we could've gotten! Unexceptional director who is witty and imaginative stepping up like this is going to mean the world of difference in this franchise! We may see a whole new and exciting chapter in starwars history! I couldn't be happier about this news
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+2
11:27PM on 06/20/2014
This is great news! I think Johnson will do a fantastic job with Star Wars. Also, I really want J.J. to go back to Star Trek, so this is doubly great news.
This is great news! I think Johnson will do a fantastic job with Star Wars. Also, I really want J.J. to go back to Star Trek, so this is doubly great news.
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9:45PM on 06/20/2014
I like the idea of having different directors for each episode, to help keep things fresh and energetic. I just don't know if this was the right choice. I do hope however, a different director is chosen for Episode IX, whether or not VIII turns out to be good.
I like the idea of having different directors for each episode, to help keep things fresh and energetic. I just don't know if this was the right choice. I do hope however, a different director is chosen for Episode IX, whether or not VIII turns out to be good.
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-7
9:10PM on 06/20/2014
Horrible news. Duncan Jones and Edgar Wright were my top two picks and neither of them is getting a shot. I'd rather have Abrams or Affleck than this guy.
Horrible news. Duncan Jones and Edgar Wright were my top two picks and neither of them is getting a shot. I'd rather have Abrams or Affleck than this guy.
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8:57PM on 06/20/2014
Rian Johnson is one of my favorite directors working, and what a perfect franchise fit for him. The visual and action stylings of Looper, mixed the menacing tone of Ozymandias BB.

I don't see why people are upset over jj leaving after the first. While I'm stoked he is in charge if the first, I do believe the original trilogy had 3 directors. Something that worked very well in its favor. I like that Disney is taking the chance on having a 'cool' director for the second. Here's to hoping it
Rian Johnson is one of my favorite directors working, and what a perfect franchise fit for him. The visual and action stylings of Looper, mixed the menacing tone of Ozymandias BB.

I don't see why people are upset over jj leaving after the first. While I'm stoked he is in charge if the first, I do believe the original trilogy had 3 directors. Something that worked very well in its favor. I like that Disney is taking the chance on having a 'cool' director for the second. Here's to hoping it mirrors a little empire.

Ps. Is it possible brad bird will be available to close the trilogy?
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8:48PM on 06/20/2014

Tagteam?

I like that idea of Zedlander, if they want to put out films close together they need more people working on them. Two directors makes sense, they could work at the same time even, and hopefully benefit from the strength of each other. They could learn from Game of Thrones and put out more of a series of films telling a long story.
I like that idea of Zedlander, if they want to put out films close together they need more people working on them. Two directors makes sense, they could work at the same time even, and hopefully benefit from the strength of each other. They could learn from Game of Thrones and put out more of a series of films telling a long story.
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8:11PM on 06/20/2014
Old Boba Fett is sent on an assignment to hunt and kill young Boba Fett.
Old Boba Fett is sent on an assignment to hunt and kill young Boba Fett.
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7:48PM on 06/20/2014

Whatever

Star Wars burnout will set in long before any of these are made.
Star Wars burnout will set in long before any of these are made.
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7:26PM on 06/20/2014
Abrams jumping ship after one film? Not a good sign at all.
Abrams jumping ship after one film? Not a good sign at all.
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6:28PM on 06/20/2014
Fuck, this is awesome. Can't wait!
Fuck, this is awesome. Can't wait!
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5:23PM on 06/20/2014
Well, I have no problem with Johnson... I had hoped JJ Abrams would do all three... but that said, changing directors has worked well for the Mission: Impossible films so why not change it up.

I do wonder though, if Abrams and Johnson are going to tag team... and Johnson's covering the middle film so to give Abrams a break, but JJ will be back for IX?
Well, I have no problem with Johnson... I had hoped JJ Abrams would do all three... but that said, changing directors has worked well for the Mission: Impossible films so why not change it up.

I do wonder though, if Abrams and Johnson are going to tag team... and Johnson's covering the middle film so to give Abrams a break, but JJ will be back for IX?
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5:22PM on 06/20/2014

Rian Johnson

Wasn't he the one who said he would never direct anything franchised? That he would only work in original stuff? I could swear some news like that came out shortly after "Looper".
Wasn't he the one who said he would never direct anything franchised? That he would only work in original stuff? I could swear some news like that came out shortly after "Looper".
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5:52PM on 06/20/2014
Can't blame him for jumping at the opportunity to work on STAR WARS. :P
Can't blame him for jumping at the opportunity to work on STAR WARS. :P
7:13PM on 06/20/2014
Bah, Star Wars isn't a franchise - it's a brand. Big difference. ;P
Bah, Star Wars isn't a franchise - it's a brand. Big difference. ;P
7:26PM on 06/20/2014
Yea, he said that! Then the dump truck full of money arrived at his house...
Yea, he said that! Then the dump truck full of money arrived at his house...
5:16PM on 06/20/2014
God i hate Roman numerals.X (10) - I(1) equals nine.

Anywhoo He`s a solid choice.Breaking Bad episode -Ozymandias was cinema worthy.
God i hate Roman numerals.X (10) - I(1) equals nine.

Anywhoo He`s a solid choice.Breaking Bad episode -Ozymandias was cinema worthy.
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+1
3:58PM on 06/20/2014
Let's remember that both Rain and JJ are big fans of Spielberg, and both are big fans of lens flares. So they are more alike than not. I still think that Rain is much better with story and character development than JJ though
Let's remember that both Rain and JJ are big fans of Spielberg, and both are big fans of lens flares. So they are more alike than not. I still think that Rain is much better with story and character development than JJ though
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7:28PM on 06/20/2014
Rian... Rian Johnson not rain
Rian... Rian Johnson not rain
7:50PM on 06/20/2014
lol
lol
3:51PM on 06/20/2014
Honestly my reaction to this after thinking about it is Abrahms shouldve just stuck with Star Trek 3 and then done Star Wars 8. As for Rian, only saw Looper so I can't judge. I just hope he doesn't pull those blue lens flares that were in Looper
Honestly my reaction to this after thinking about it is Abrahms shouldve just stuck with Star Trek 3 and then done Star Wars 8. As for Rian, only saw Looper so I can't judge. I just hope he doesn't pull those blue lens flares that were in Looper
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3:48PM on 06/20/2014
Not sure how I feel about this. Without a finished product it's hard to tell if it will be good. Brick was a good flick and Looper was decent enough, I mean the story was good even if the whole time travel plot collapsed on itself somewhat. But that tends to happen with most time travel movies.

Good news is that he's directing the second movie in a trilogy, which means he's picking up where JJ Abrams left off and continuing along in Lucas' outline for this new trilogy. So it's not like
Not sure how I feel about this. Without a finished product it's hard to tell if it will be good. Brick was a good flick and Looper was decent enough, I mean the story was good even if the whole time travel plot collapsed on itself somewhat. But that tends to happen with most time travel movies.

Good news is that he's directing the second movie in a trilogy, which means he's picking up where JJ Abrams left off and continuing along in Lucas' outline for this new trilogy. So it's not like he's creating his own Star Wars movie from scratch.

Me theory on why JJ Abrams isn't coming back? They probably didn't want to leave the crux of the plot (ep. VIII) and resolution of the story (ep. IX) in the hands of the guy who is horrible at finishing off his stories. I mean honestly people, Abrams is like the Stephen King of film making. He creates a really great premise with cool characters, but then when you get to the climax and denouement of his movies, the story turns to crap! For example, MI3 and Star Trek 2.
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3:45PM on 06/20/2014
Yes! I'm pumped. Love the guy's work. From Brick to Breaking Bad. Solid work and great style.
Yes! I'm pumped. Love the guy's work. From Brick to Breaking Bad. Solid work and great style.
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3:36PM on 06/20/2014
Since when did Looper become so despised?
Since when did Looper become so despised?
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3:41PM on 06/20/2014
As soon as it was loved. That's how the internet works.
As soon as it was loved. That's how the internet works.
3:43PM on 06/20/2014
its really not that great. its one of thise films like pacific rim that people praised so highly before it came out that they cant admit its bad.
its really not that great. its one of thise films like pacific rim that people praised so highly before it came out that they cant admit its bad.
3:46PM on 06/20/2014
@movie-man - Says the guy that would rather see Michael Bay direct.
@movie-man - Says the guy that would rather see Michael Bay direct.
3:51PM on 06/20/2014
bay is the man!!!
bay is the man!!!
3:55PM on 06/20/2014
It had its great moments but it slowed down too much at the farm
It had its great moments but it slowed down too much at the farm
3:55PM on 06/20/2014
I started hating it about 10 minutes in to it when they passingly mention "oh there are telekinetic mutants - it's not a big deal and totally won't come back later", and then they shoehorn the shit story to being all about a super-telekinetic kid. Fuck it.
I started hating it about 10 minutes in to it when they passingly mention "oh there are telekinetic mutants - it's not a big deal and totally won't come back later", and then they shoehorn the shit story to being all about a super-telekinetic kid. Fuck it.
7:34PM on 06/20/2014
Movie man. You are retarded... Don't call yourself movie man anymore please. Michael bay sucks! All of his films break out into a Victoria secret commercial. He's the biggest hack in Hollywood and every transformers film is straight garbage
Movie man. You are retarded... Don't call yourself movie man anymore please. Michael bay sucks! All of his films break out into a Victoria secret commercial. He's the biggest hack in Hollywood and every transformers film is straight garbage
2:08AM on 06/21/2014
Looper is a good action movie but a bad time travel movie. When a character in the movie admits that the time travel in the movie doesn't make sense and you shouldn't even think about it you know it is a bad time travel movie.
Looper is a good action movie but a bad time travel movie. When a character in the movie admits that the time travel in the movie doesn't make sense and you shouldn't even think about it you know it is a bad time travel movie.
3:29PM on 06/20/2014

Another Hack/Fraud

ugh.

JJ, what the fuck, man? I have a modicum of trust that you can make a fun Star Wars movie, and you bail after one?
And where the hell is Lawrence Kasdan in all this?
ugh.

JJ, what the fuck, man? I have a modicum of trust that you can make a fun Star Wars movie, and you bail after one?
And where the hell is Lawrence Kasdan in all this?
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-13
3:13PM on 06/20/2014

rather have

a truely epic director like bay or Cameron.
a truely epic director like bay or Cameron.
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3:14PM on 06/20/2014
I'd rather a chimp direct it than Michael Bay
I'd rather a chimp direct it than Michael Bay
3:19PM on 06/20/2014
Alan chimp?
Alan chimp?
3:33PM on 06/20/2014
Any chimp
Any chimp
3:45PM on 06/20/2014
What the f**k did you just say!?!
What the f**k did you just say!?!
3:49PM on 06/20/2014
James Cameron
James Cameron
4:18PM on 06/20/2014
And watch the light sabers explode?
And watch the light sabers explode?
7:30PM on 06/20/2014
Michael fucking Bay??? What are you 13-14 years old?
Michael fucking Bay??? What are you 13-14 years old?
7:30PM on 06/20/2014
Michael fucking Bay??? What are you 13-14 years old?
Michael fucking Bay??? What are you 13-14 years old?
8:53PM on 06/20/2014
Im 27, live at home and preach on the net all day. what about you?
Im 27, live at home and preach on the net all day. what about you?
3:06PM on 06/20/2014

hmmm

Im not sure how good a choice he is, looper is fine the first time round. after a second and third viewing tho, its pretty poor. but i think most of that cones down to jgl.
Im not sure how good a choice he is, looper is fine the first time round. after a second and third viewing tho, its pretty poor. but i think most of that cones down to jgl.
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3:04PM on 06/20/2014
Brick, Looper and the two best episodes of Breaking Bad. They are not fucking around guys. I wonder if Duncan Jones is a possibility for a spin off or Episodes IX if Rian doesn't direct it.
Brick, Looper and the two best episodes of Breaking Bad. They are not fucking around guys. I wonder if Duncan Jones is a possibility for a spin off or Episodes IX if Rian doesn't direct it.
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3:04PM on 06/20/2014
I'm excited for this, much more so than Josh Trank thats for sure. I thought Brick was superb, and I loved Looper. Of course, Abrams doing all 3 would have been the dream. I just hope that he leaves actors face's alone, that makeup to make JGL look like Bruce Willis was the most unnecessary thing ever.
I'm excited for this, much more so than Josh Trank thats for sure. I thought Brick was superb, and I loved Looper. Of course, Abrams doing all 3 would have been the dream. I just hope that he leaves actors face's alone, that makeup to make JGL look like Bruce Willis was the most unnecessary thing ever.
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3:03PM on 06/20/2014
Maybe they want a darker episode for the second movie, like Empire? Rian Johnson is a solid choice, wonder why the entire series isn't going to be directed by JJ.
Maybe they want a darker episode for the second movie, like Empire? Rian Johnson is a solid choice, wonder why the entire series isn't going to be directed by JJ.
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+5
3:00PM on 06/20/2014
Good choice. I feel better for the trilogy now. He is much much better with story and characters than JJ. The look of his films are much smarter looking in every way also.
Good choice. I feel better for the trilogy now. He is much much better with story and characters than JJ. The look of his films are much smarter looking in every way also.
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2:55PM on 06/20/2014
It looks like Disney is putting Star Wars in the right hands.
It looks like Disney is putting Star Wars in the right hands.
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2:53PM on 06/20/2014

Meh

Hope we get proper Star Wars movies, and not movies about two people sitting around in a farm.
Hope we get proper Star Wars movies, and not movies about two people sitting around in a farm.
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3:01PM on 06/20/2014
I had fun with the sitting around moisture farm scenes in A New Hope....
I had fun with the sitting around moisture farm scenes in A New Hope....
3:06PM on 06/20/2014
lol what? I hope JJ Abrams Star Wars isn't about a girl who follows her high school crush to college
lol what? I hope JJ Abrams Star Wars isn't about a girl who follows her high school crush to college
2:51PM on 06/20/2014
Great news. Loved Brick, and Looper. Maybe he'll have a part for Gordon Levitt in these films.

This news has me a lot more excited then having Tank direct a Star Wars film.
Great news. Loved Brick, and Looper. Maybe he'll have a part for Gordon Levitt in these films.

This news has me a lot more excited then having Tank direct a Star Wars film.
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2:49PM on 06/20/2014

hmmm

Im not sure how good a choice he is, looper is fine the first time round. after a second and third viewing tho, its pretty poor. but i think most of that cones down to jgl.
Im not sure how good a choice he is, looper is fine the first time round. after a second and third viewing tho, its pretty poor. but i think most of that cones down to jgl.
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2:47PM on 06/20/2014
I'm having flashbacks to the Brian Singer Superman Returns debacle.
I'm having flashbacks to the Brian Singer Superman Returns debacle.
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2:42PM on 06/20/2014
I love Rian Johnson. Very funny though that he would take on such a thing since after Looper (and I assume he was getting some offers or something) he kept saying, "I just want to do my stuff"
I love Rian Johnson. Very funny though that he would take on such a thing since after Looper (and I assume he was getting some offers or something) he kept saying, "I just want to do my stuff"
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2:42PM on 06/20/2014
Looper was terrible. This is not good news.
Looper was terrible. This is not good news.
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2:50PM on 06/20/2014
I agree, one of the most hyped movies from last year and it was such a disappointment.
I agree, one of the most hyped movies from last year and it was such a disappointment.
2:58PM on 06/20/2014
Wow, I thought I was the only one. Looper had a pretty cool first half, and then it devolved into people sitting around in a farm.
Wow, I thought I was the only one. Looper had a pretty cool first half, and then it devolved into people sitting around in a farm.
2:59PM on 06/20/2014
You aren't the only one. Many hate it but they won't say it because it isn't the right thing to say in fanboy eyes.
You aren't the only one. Many hate it but they won't say it because it isn't the right thing to say in fanboy eyes.
10:52PM on 06/20/2014
I'm not a big fan of Pooper, but can you suggest who should be director?
I'm not a big fan of Pooper, but can you suggest who should be director?
2:39PM on 06/20/2014

YES.

YES.
YES.
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2:45PM on 06/20/2014
I would also like to contribute a "YES".
I would also like to contribute a "YES".
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