As the recent teaser trailer for ‘The Last Jedi‘ reminded us, Rian Johnson might be the best filmmaker ever to make a “Star Wars” movie. Well, that’s not completely fair: George Lucas was of course no slouch, until he fell in love with green screen, and Gareth Edwards proved with the stunning visuals of ‘Rogue One‘ that he’s an enormously talented filmmaker. But Johnson, for the last decade, has suggested he’s one of the most exciting young directors around, and him making a “Star Wars” film is a bit like if Lucas had persuaded a Spielberg or a Coppola to do “The Empire Strikes Back.”
When Johnson was first linked to the franchise in the trades nearly three years ago, it was also suggested that he’d essentially become the driving creative force of the core franchise, making both sequels to “The Force Awakens”: Deadline described him as making a deal to “write and direct ‘Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX,’” although rival trades later downgraded that to saying that Johnson was actually only writing a treatment for the ninth chapter.
But actually, even that proves not to be the case, sadly. comicbook.com cannily spotted a Twitter exchange between the director and a fan where Johnson was asked if he’d still written a treatment for “Episode IX,” and the helmer replied “That’s old info, I haven’t been involved in writing IX.” There’ll be a temptation in some quarters to take this as a sign of trouble in some way, but it’s probably nothing of the sort: with ‘The Last Jedi’ still in post, ‘Episode IX’ opening just 18 months on from it, and the 9th movie director Colin Trevorrow a writer himself (he’s penning the script with partner Derek Connolly), it probably made more sense for Johnson to focus on his own entry.
In fact, we’re sure there’s plenty of cross-pollination going on anyway — the “Star Wars” helmers seem to be friendly, with Johnson cameoing in ‘Rogue One’ and Edwards reportedly returning the favor in ‘Jedi,’ and Kathleen Kennedy is shepherding the grand vision of the story anyway. We’ll find out how Johnson does with his chapter when it opens on December 15th, and Trevorrow follows on May 24th, 2019.