Star Wars Episode VIII Director: “I’m Figuring It Out As I Go”

Rian Johnson has opened up about his work on Star Wars Episode VIII, and he’s admitted that, at the moment, he is simply “figuring it out as [he goes].”

Johnson will direct the eighth instalment to the beloved franchise, while he might also be tasked with overseeing the ninth film, too. The Looper, Brick, and Breaking Bad director opened up to fellow filmmaker Terry Gilliam about his work with LucasFilm after he appeared on the podcast TalkHouse.

When he was asked how it felt to “take over someone else’s world,” Johnson explained, “I’m just starting into it, but so far it’s been nothing but… honestly, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing. It’s just joyous.” Johnson also made a point to reveal that he is a lifelong Star Wars nut, and then revealed that he used to play with the toys as a kid and that the first movies he ever made up revolved around George Lucas’ original trio of movies.

“The first movies I was making in my head were part of this world, so part of it is a direct connection – it’s almost like an automatic jacking-in into childhood in a weird way.”

Johnson, whose previous cinematic work has seen him lauded as one of the most original young filmmakers in American movies, admitted that he has entered brand new terrain by working on these films, and that he is still trying to adjust to directing on such a huge scale.

“I’m figuring it out as I go. I’m dancing on top of the avalanche a little bit. But it’s a challenge of remembering what inspires you about [the original films], but I think you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it. You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about.”

Of course, working on such a renowned franchise comes with its fair share of responsibility, but Johnson was adamant that the whole reason he was hired in the first place was due to his vision and that producers have given him all the creative freedom he desires to take the film where he pleases.

“Well, that’s been the great thing about it – Kathleen and her whole creative team have been so insistent on all the filmmakers they’ve been hiring for these movies: ‘We want you to take it and turn it into something that you really care about.’ And we’ll see how the process plays out, but so far, that’s a big part of the reason I’m [doing the film]. Because that just seems like their attitude towards it. It’s really exciting actually.”

[Image via Lucas Film]