Holy shit Disney / Lucasfilm really have scooped up all the best young film makers.
Deadline has the scoop:
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. I don’t know too much more at this point, but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicle‘s Josh Trank and Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards.
Holy shit. Holy shit. Johnson is a great talent. IN addition to Looper which we loved he’s written and directed the fabulous Brick, the underrated The Brothers Bloom, and the three best episodes of Breaking Bad (Fly, Fifty-One, and Ozymandias).
This means that he’ll be taking over the core story of Star Wars from JJ Abrams (which is kind of shocking to be honest). Where JJ is going we dob’t know yet but presumably he’ll be staying on as a producer (as he has done with Mission Impossible and Star Trek franchises). Josh Trank and Gareth Evans are directing two of the three announced spinoffs from Star Wars which means that of the announced films in the franchise there is one left that needs someone at the helm (and let’s be honest, everyone wants it to be Edgar Wright).
We’ll update this as it develops including when LucasFilm makes it official.
UPDATE: Johnson hasn’t said anything official, but he tweeted this clip from The Right Stuff which kind of confirms the news.
UPDATE: The Wrap says he’s writing/directing episode VIII but not episode IX. If true this means there are still two spots open for directing, but Johnson will at least write a treatment for Episode IX (which makes sense, write at least an outline of the end of the story he started).