Disney and Lucasfilm have had no qualms in the past about moving on from directors they disagree with, so take this as a strong vote of confidence: Rian Johnson, the writer-director of the forthcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has been tapped to create a brand new trilogy in the Star Wars universe.
Lucasfilm made the announcement Thursday, saying that Johnson would be responsible for mapping out three new films, the first of which he will write and direct. Unlike previous trilogies — the original, the prequels, and the current series — this new set of movies will not follow the Skywalker clan. In fact, it will feature entirely new characters. “Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored,” read the announcement.
“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement. “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.”
Giving Johnson such expanded responsibility is a good sign that The Last Jedi, due out December 15th, is as good as it looks. There’s no word on when the new trilogy will kick off, but first up will be Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 25th, 2018, and the J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars: Episode IX on December 20th, 2019. Based on that pattern, we’d expect another standalone film in 2020 and Rian’s franchise to kick off in 2021.
Also coming in 2019 will be a live action Star Wars TV series, available exclusively on Disney’s streaming service. Disney CEO Bob Iger made the announcement during a Thursday earnings call.