Star Wars Hires Rian Johnson To Write And Direct Episode VIII

After impressing critics and audiences with the intelligent, creative Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper (as well as multiple stints behind the camera on Breaking Bad), writer-director Rian Johnson is graduating to one of the highest-profile gigs in the industry. He’s helming two Star Wars movies.

And not just ANY Star Wars movies. Deadline reports that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII and Episode IX, picking up the storyline launched by J.J. Abrams and carrying it over the course of two additional films.

The Wrap, however, contradicts a portion of this story, saying that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, but will only write the treatment for Episode IX, and not direct.

In response to the news – and once again proving that he’s a smart man with his finger on the pulse – Rian Johnson Tweeted this incredibly perfect clip from The Right Stuff. Listen to the words in Scott Glenn’s "prayer." They are ideal for this situation!

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So which one is it? Will Rian Johnson be handed the keys to the next two Star Wars movies? Or will he map out Episode IX for a different director while he labors on Star Wars: Episode VIII? I’m a little surprised that no one from Disney and LucasFilm have released a confirmation. Expect that any minute. But I’m taking Johnson’s Tweet as confirmation that these reports – initially – are accurate.

It would make sense for one director to have say over the path of the trilogy. And I’m more than a little surprised that it isn’t J.J. Abrams taking his part of the second and third chapters in this planned trilogy. Johnson also will be joining an army of creative filmmakers who have been hired for solo standalone movies, like Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle).

Either way, Rian Johnson is an incredibly smart director who has proven himself as a masterful storyteller who isn’t afraid to take bold chances and work with major personalities. He has delivered incredibly tense and rewarding stories in multiple formats, and he’s a brilliant hire for Team Star Wars, no matter how many movies he ends up doing in this rejuvenated galaxy!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.