The Last Jedi may be the talk of the town, but with a fourth Star Wars trilogy already on the cards, it’s clear Rian Johnson and the Powers That Be over at Lucasfilm are in the process of future-proofing that galaxy far, far away. Not that it was ever in danger of losing its spark, mind you.
And so, beyond the release of Episode IX, Johnson has drawn up “one big story” that will stretch far into the 2020s – even if he doesn’t wind up directing all three instalments.
After tracing the evolution of his newly-unveiled Star Wars trilogy, one that promises to be a “fresh” expansion of Lucasfilm’s crown jewel, the filmmaker spoke to Collider about his early discussions with Kathleen Kennedy and the like, and why the announcement was completely unrelated to him passing up the chance to helm Episode IX – a gig that would ultimately wind up in the hands of J.J. Abrams.
It was totally separate, it was never in the cards for me to [direct Episode 9]. I was always gonna finish [The Last Jedi] and then hand it off to the next filmmaker. But the idea for the new trilogy was completely separate; it just came because we were getting to the end of this process and kind of getting sad that we had to stop working. But like Kathy [Kennedy] and all the folks at Disney, we were just like, ‘We’ve had a really good time. How do we keep this party going a little longer?’
Anchored by “new characters” and featuring entirely “new places,” this is arguably the most exciting Star Wars announcement in recent memory, as it’ll allow Lucasfilm’s time-honored franchise to continue far beyond the Skywalker saga – even if the likes of Daisy Ridley and Co. play no part in the final product.
We were just generally talking about what could we do and I was like, ‘What would be most interesting to me is…’ and then I just said—it wasn’t even a specific pitch, the pitch was: ‘A new trilogy. Three movies, one story. New characters, new places. Let’s start fresh.’ That was the most exciting thing I could possibly think of and Kathy really responded to that and we’re gonna give it a shot.
Last but not least, Johnson stressed that he simply doesn’t know if he’ll direct all three instalments. One thing’s for sure: he’s in charge of the story.
Honestly I don’t know yet [if I’ll direct all three]. I know I’m gonna come up with the whole thing, the idea is to come up with one big story, but I know I’m gonna write and direct at least the first one. Then I’m gonna have to—even the first one at this point we’re still figuring it out, so I don’t know yet. But I know I want to come up with the whole thing and then we’ll see.
Closer to home, The Last Jedi will officially tumble off Lucasfilm’s production line on December 15th – and yes, it’ll be the longest Star Wars movie yet at 150 minutes.