In a lot of people’s minds, The Last Jedi was a total failure. Garnering a meek 44% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes – the lowest percentage of the franchise yet, including the prequels – it seems the new directions Johnson was heading towards didn’t stick. And as everyone knows, J.J. Abrams will now be returning for the upcoming finale to the Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker.
With that said, Johnson’s time with the franchise isn’t coming to an end. Despite reports that’ve suggested the contrary, it seems his trilogy of separate Star Wars films is still happening. And combined with the rapidly approaching whodunit, Knives Out, the director seems pretty excited to have creative freedom again.
In fact, he alluded to that excitement in a recent interview with Observer, saying:
“I think that the fun and challenging part of it is to dive in, figure out what’s exciting and then figure out what it’s going to be,” Johnson shared. “We’re doing something that steps beyond the legacy characters. What does that look like? To me, the blue sky element of it is what was most striking about it. I know the way that I’m coming at it and what’s fun about it for everyone in George Lucas’ films is figuring out, ‘What’s the next step?’ It really makes you think and figure out what the essence of Star Wars is for me and what that will look like moving forward.”
Given his work on The Last Jedi, it isn’t surprising that his focus will rest on new characters – a fact that may make “casual” fans excited. But it does poise an interesting question for the franchise. Though spinoffs like Rogue One and Solo drew away from the Skywalker family, they were still grounded in familiar characters and events.
But with that said, D23 is next week. And while we don’t know whether or not Johnson will shed some light on his new Star Wars movies there, he’ll surely have to answer some questions while doing press for Knives Out quite soon anyway.