There's been yet another tremor in the force.
After Disney's “Star Wars: Episode VII” hits theaters in 2015, J.J. Abrams will hand the reins to Rian Johnson (“Looper”), who will reportedly write and direct “Episode VIII.”
The reports of Johnson's involvement are clouded (by the darkside?), with Deadline reporting that Johnson will write and direct both “VIII” and “IX,” and The Wrap stating that he'll only be writing the treatment for “IX.”
We'll likely know more soon.
Many fans presumed that Abrams would direct all three films in the trilogy, but he only signed on for “Episode VII.” The original “Star Wars” trilogy was spilt between three directors (George Lucas, Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand), while Lucas wrote and directed all three of the prequels himself, starting with 1999's “Phantom Menace.”
Johnson previously directed the low budget indies “Brick” and “The Brothers Bloom,” as well as several key episodes of “Breaking Bad.” His 2012 time travel mindbender “Looper” starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis and grossed a strong $176 million worldwide. “Star Wars” will be Johnson's biggest assignment by far.
“Star Wars: Episode VII” stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow, plus original trilogy heroes Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.
It opens December 18, 2015.