Star Wars: Episode VII still seems like it is far, far away from being released, but we’ve already been given the scoop on who will write and direct Episode VIII. Surprisingly, J.J. Abrams will not be returning to direct the Star Wars franchise after the 2015 release.
Deadline got the scoop that Rian Johnson will both write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The outlet originally reported that Johnson would also fill both roles for Star Wars: Episode VIX, but The Wrap clarifies that he will only write the ninth film in the sci-fi franchise and will not direct. So the search is still on for the director of the final film in the new trilogy.
Johnson first started directing movies in 2009 with Brick followed by The Brothers Bloom. However, his writing and directing efforts for Looper starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt put him on the Hollywood map.
The director’s reaction to the reveal that he would play major roles in the next two core Star Wars films was to post this scene from the 1983 film, The Right Stuff to Twitter. Warning: There is an f-bomb dropped. Yet, it is also appropriately used in this case given the immensity of the challenge facing Johnson. The Star Wars franchise is beloved and die-hard fans have been anxiously awaiting true sequels to the original trilogy for quite a long time.
Johnson isn’t the only young and talented director to be tied to the Star Wars franchise. While J.J. Abrams is filming the next episode of Star Wars, Disney has tapped Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) and Josh Trank (Chronicle) to direct two stand-alone Star Wars films.
The current plan is release a Star Wars film every year starting with the release of Episode VII on Dec. 18, 2015. The releases will alternate between the core franchise films such as Episode VII through Episode XIV and the spin-off one-shots. One of those is rumored to involve the most beloved side characters from the franchise, Boba Fett.
Harrison Ford (Han Solo) was recently injured on the set of the Millenium Falcon, however, and broke his leg. His recovery time is expected to be at least eight weeks. Abrams and the rest of the Star Wars production in England are currently shuffling the shooting schedule to fill in the time that Ford will not be available and ensure that the release date is met.