The masses are just beginning to enter the proper amount of hype as The Last Jedi enters its home stretch before the movie debuts on December 14th, but Rian Johnson, the director of the 8th episode in the main Star Wars storyline, seems excited to be looking ahead.
Disney and Lucasfilm are clearly pleased with Johnson’s work on The Last Jedi, so much that his name was rumored to be on the replacement short list when Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm pulled the plug on a Colin Trevorrow-led Episode IX. In the end, The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams is taking back over the series with the ninth Star Wars, and Johnson is getting a brand-new trilogy to play with.
At a press event for The Last Jedi in Mexico, Johnson reiterated why he’s so pleased to be helming a new era of Star Wars tales that won’t have the baggage of 40 years of history to overwhelm the filmmaker.
“I’m just in the very beginning of starting to come up with what the new trilogy is going to be. What makes me so excited about it, is the idea of doing a new story on the big canvas of three movies in this world. There’s just so much potential and I can’t wait to jump into it.”
This says a few things: There’s a chance that we’ll be moving totally past the Skywalker saga as Disney’s plans for a movie roughly every year comes to fruition. Secondly, it recognizes that for Star Wars to survive and remain relevant, the time is now to move past the old and introduce the new. As Kylo Ren says: “Let the past die.”
Producer Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm echoed Johnson’s thoughts in their official press release: “In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.”
It also locks up Johnson for the next decade or so. Disney and Lucasfilm are rightfully particular about the tone and style of their flagship franchise. Stand-alone prequel film Rogue One went through extensive reshoots, the Han Solo move fired its directing team before bringing in Ron Howard, and now they’re going back to the Abrams well for Episode IX. It shows the executives have bought into Johnson’s creative vision while trusting him to maintain the quality most of the movies are known for. The prequels are what they are, and now let us never speak of them again. And if we do, speak of them in meme form.