Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t even out yet, but that didn’t stop Disney from making the announcement last month that the film’s director, Rian Johnson, will be writing and directing the first of three films in an entirely new Star Wars trilogy set in a previously unexplored corner of the galaxy. Talk about a vote of confidence!
Still, Disney has built a reputation in recent years for keeping tight creative leashes on the filmmakers it hires and indeed, we’ve seen a number of high profile departures for upcoming Star Wars movies just this year, with Chris Miller and Phil Lord being replaced by Ron Howard on Solo: A Star Wars Story and Colin Trevorrow being dismissed in favor of J.J. Abrams on Star Wars: Episode IX. It begs the question of just how much flexibility Johnson will have to “introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” According to Johnson, there’s pretty much no limit on what he can imagine right now.
“Right now there’s all the freedom in the world,” he told IGN while promoting Star Wars: The Last Jedi. “That’s the whole thing that’s exciting to me is let’s go [to] some new places, let’s meet some new folks, let’s see what else is out there. Let’s have one story told over three films in this galaxy with no limitations. It’s pretty exciting.”
Johnson’s first installment in his new Star Wars trilogy isn’t expected to release until 2020 at the very earliest, as Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters in 2018 and Episode IX is due for release in 2019. As such, Johnson presumably won’t have much involvement with the rest of the Skywalker saga or the Anthology series after The Last Jedi comes out but the director credits this lack of involvement with affording him the opportunity to pitch Disney on the idea of a new trilogy in the first place.
“We all just had a really good time working together,” Johnson said on why he thinks he was entrusted with overseeing a whole new series in the Star Wars franchise. “I know for us, that was a big part of it. We were getting to the end of it [The Last Jedi] and Kathy Kennedy and Bob Iger and Alan Horn, Alan Berkman, all the folks at Disney, we were just sad that this was coming to an end. We were like, ‘How do we figure out some way to keep working together?” That’s when I pitched the idea of a new trilogy with a new story. That seemed really exciting for me.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15th. Look for Goliath’s review early next week!