Looper director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII

Rian Johnson

This is massive news. Ever since JJ Abrams was announced as the director of Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII, most people assumed that Abrams would stick around for Episode VIII and IX, which are scheduled for release in 2017 and 2019 respectively. But according to Deadline, Disney is currently in the process of closing a deal for Rian Johnson to take the writing and directing duties on Episode VIII and IX. Other sources are questioning whether or not Johnson is definitely directing Episode IX, but all are agreed that he will certainly helm Episode VIII. 

It seems now that Abram’s role in directing Episode VII is to get the new trilogy on the right track, and he will likely remain as producer on the sequels. While it’s a shame that Abrams won’t be directing all three films, Johnson is an incredibly exciting replacement. He has amassed quite a following after his three directorial efforts (Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper) were well respected cult hits. Looper in particularly showed Johnson’s skills in the sci-fi genre.

With the recent announcements that Godzilla director Gareth Edwards and Chronicle director Josh Trank will be directing the first two Star Wars standalone spin-off movies, it’s clear that Disney is placing the future of the beloved saga in very capable hands. Each of the new directors has proven their abilities in directing big-budget, effects-driven films and will hopefully knock their Star Wars films out of the park.

Just think about it: we may be entering an era in which we are once again given a run of high quality Star Wars films. These are definitely exciting times.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be released in Australian cinemas on December 18th, 2015.  Episode VIII is currently scheduled for release in 2017.