‘Looper’ Director Rian Johnson To Write And Direct Next Two ‘Star Wars’ Films

I haven’t cared that much either way about Disney’s ongoing Star Wars plans up until now, which for the most part have held all the interest of a shareholder’s meeting. JJ Abrams is directing Episode VII, with Josh Trank and Gareth Edwards signed up for stand-alone spinoffs. But now comes word that Rian Johnson, director of Looper, probably the best original mainstream sci-fi film of the last five years, is signed on to write and direct Episode VIII and IX for Disney. Well hot damn. This seems like insane news to drop on a Friday.

In a bombshell move, I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground and is right now helming Episode VII.

Johnson will take over the core film franchise, and he’ll get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile. [Deadline]

And just like that, I’m interested again. Well played, Disney. Much like they got Edgar Wright to pique our interest about an otherwise uninteresting Ant-Man movie, Rian Johnson has me suddenly caring about an eighth and ninth Star Wars movie, at least two movies removed from me giving a shit about anything Star Wars-related. Hopefully Disney will give Johnson enough leeway to develop his own vision and don’t just try to use his name to legitimize their vision the way it sure seems like they tried to do with Edgar Wright. I want to see a Rian Johnson movie, not a toy commercial with Rian Johnson’s name slapped on it.

Whatever happens, I hope that at the first meeting when they ask him his vision for the project, he says “You wanna talk about that now?? We’d be here all day, drawing diagrams with straws!”

Johnson is certainly starting off on the right foot, tweeting this in response to the news.

Well played, Johnson. Well played.