Lucasfilm has announced that Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will write and direct a standalone Star Wars trilogy independent of the Skywalker saga. Johnson’s longtime collaborator Ram Bergman will also produce the trilogy, which is expected to explore completely new characters independent of the pre-existing stories in the Star Wars universe.
In the official announcement from Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy expressed excitement over this new set of films:
“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”
It’s rumored that Johnson turned down directing the (still untitled) ninth episode in the Skywalker saga, and there’s a good chance that this being on the horizon was a contributing factor. Frankly, once Episode IX comes out, Disney and Lucasfilm need new material if they want to keep the Star Wars brand going. It’s exciting that their solution seems to be exploring new territory rather than just dragging out the soon to be concluded story that started the entire franchise.
No release dates have been set for Johnson’s trilogy, but The Last Jedi is set to be released December 15, 2017.
On this episode of the Nerd & Tie Podcast, Trae and Nick are going it on their own (as Pher is unfortunately ill). We mourn the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, contemplate Steven Moffat leaving Doctor Who, consider Star Wars Episode VIII’s move to December 2017, skeptically consider Michael Bay’s future with the Transformers franchise, wonder where all the money is from TCE2, and talk about Yourminicon cancelling half of their conventions.
As The Force Awakens is currently killing it at the box office, most of us are pretty excited for 2017’s as-of-yet-untitle eighth episode in the Saga. I mean, sure, 2016 will give us the first spinoff film (Rogue One), but we all know it’s not the same. For the longest time Episode VIII has had a May 2017 release date, but not so much anymore.
In the wake of script rewrites for the film, we now know the Rian Johnson written and directed installment is being pushed back to December 15th, 2017.
Frankly, besides giving the film more time for production, this also makes sense from a market standpoint. Rogue One would have only come out six months prior with the original release date, and with less than a year between Star Wars films the impact might have been reduced. There is also frankly a lot less competition in the theaters with a winter release date, which should also help the film. Personally, I’m still excited.