'Looper' Helmer Rian Johnson to Direct & Write the Next 'Star Wars'

June 20, 2014

Rian Johnson / Star Wars

Disney sure seems to be getting all their Dejarik pieces set before the game even starts. Star Wars: Episode VII is currently in production, but won't even hit theaters until December of 2015. But the studio has already hired Godzilla director Gareth Edwards to direct a Star Wars spin-off film for 2016, and Chronicle director Josh Trank for another unknown spin-off sometime down the road. Now THR has learned that Brick and Looper director Rian Johnson has been hired to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, which means J.J. Abrams won't be sticking around after he delivers the first part of this whole new trilogy.

Essentially confirming his involvement, Rian Johnson just posted this on Twitter:

In addition, Johnson has also been hired to write the treatment for Episode IX, which seems to imply that the events of the second film may have much more immediate ties to the third film. Or maybe Disney just likes what Johnson has planned for Episode VIII, and they want to keep him around as long as they can. Johnson was one of our hopeful replacements for Ant-Man, but this is obviously a much better scenario for the gifted director. Brick, Looper and The Brothers Bloom made my list of favorite films in their respective release years, and he's just a fantastic filmmaker to give Star Wars a fresh vision and quality story. Great?

Find more posts: Development, Movie News, Star Wars



I think it's a good move.

Quanah on Jun 20, 2014


Oh wow. Brick was a brilliant film and Looper was awesome...This is great news. Abrams and Johnson are two very talented filmmakers. I wonder who's directing Episode 9.

Xerxexx on Jun 20, 2014


Ever since BRICK we all knew this kid had chops.

DAVIDPD on Jun 23, 2014


Terrific news. Rian Johnson has created terrific original material, and will only continue to shine through the Star Wars franchise. Even the episode of Breaking Bad that he directed, Ozymandias, was the best in the whole series.

Marcus on Jun 20, 2014


yes awesome!

Avi on Jun 20, 2014


I like that they went with Trank and Edwards for the spinoffs, who will already have major blockbusters under their belt, and then the major Episode goes to a smaller director. Looper was great but still a small movie. It shows a lot of faith to hand him Episode VIII

Drejhead on Jun 20, 2014


Trank is still a major X-factor here. His FANTASTIC FOUR film is a big question mark. But his STAR WARS film should be great.

DAVIDPD on Jun 23, 2014


Great choices with all of the franchise directors so far. Holding out hope for Matt Reeves for a future installment

ColinH on Jun 20, 2014


This is the best thing I've ever heard

Jon Odishaw on Jun 20, 2014


Everyone was worried about Disney 'ruining' Star Wars, and I kept saying the same thing. Star Wars is too big to fail, they are NOT going to screw it up, they can't afford to. They got an exciting, talented guy with Abrams, they conceded to not rush a summer 2015 release, they are picking a ton of promising, fresh directors for the spin-offs and future episodes. Star Wars is in good hands, as if that wasn't likely evident from the way Disney has let Marvel Studios handle themselves.

Chris Groves on Jun 20, 2014


Like everything fan boys do their reaction was overblown and unnecessary. It was a loud minority speaking like they were the majority. We don't need to worry. Disney has been on a roll. Sure, they may have fucked up Pixar a little, but that seems to be rectified.

DAVIDPD on Jun 20, 2014


Exactly. Just as The Avengers isn't really a Disney film, it's a Marvel Studios film...I believe that these Star Wars movies will be Lucasfilm films, not Disney films. Obviously Disney is 'overlord' of it all, but they purchases these companies wholesale so that they can operate under the Disney umbrella, not be micro-managed. Disney knows what can happen when they personally try to get into the 'live action blockbuster' business...they get movies like Tron: Legacy, John Carter, and The Lone Ranger, which all under-perform to one degree or another. They know they are probably better served in letting Kevin Feige and Kathleen Kennedy handle themselves.

Chris Groves on Jun 21, 2014


I agree with everything you said except that Tron: Legacy under performed. 400 million on a 170 million budget is on level and even better than several of the Marvel movies, and those are all considered successes. It was only ever considered a disappointment due to the success Avatar had before it.

ColinH on Jun 21, 2014


That is why I said it under-performed, and not that it failed. That film was expected by many to be a pretty big hit in the making, so $400 million worldwide wasn't really anything to write home about. There is a reason we still have no official movement on a sequel for that. The performance is really only better than The Incredible Hulk. Captain America: The First Avenger grossed $370 million, but it was on a smaller budget of $140 million. Thor also cost less than Legacy, and made almost $50 million more.

Chris Groves on Jun 21, 2014


Agreed. In total.

DAVIDPD on Jun 23, 2014


Yes, yes, yes! Great choice!

Maxx on Jun 20, 2014


HELL YES. 'nuff said.

DAVIDPD on Jun 20, 2014


Wow, that's just A plus news. Great, can't wait for it.

IamSlave on Jun 20, 2014


I've got a bad feeling about this.

cs on Jun 20, 2014


go rent a Bret Ratner movie

Jameson Cyr on Jun 21, 2014


What does Bret Ratner have to do with this article? I'm not sold on Johnson directing Star Wars. I've seen his movies and there is nothing about them that tells me he is the man for the job. I'm as big a fan of SW as anyone. I still have the VHS box set of original trilogy, before and after it was remastered. I've read countless SW novels and some more than once. So, I'm sorry if my opinion differs from yours, but the biggest problems I've seen with Johnson's films have been his scripts and now he's writing Star Wars. Like I said, I've got a bad feeling about this.

cs on Jun 21, 2014


Looper was bloody incredible. Star Wars will be even better.

Jon Odishaw on Jun 21, 2014


I found looper to be lackluster. Most sci fi films fall apart in the third act, looper fell apart the entire second half. He had some good ideas but didn't push it far enough. The brothers bloom had a similar problem and the tone was inconsistent. Hopefully, he can do a better job with Star Wars.

cs on Jun 21, 2014


The second act was the weakest part of the film but the third act was one of the best I've ever seen in sci fi history.

Jon Odishaw on Jun 21, 2014


If he has the support Irvin Kershner did with Empire, he'll do fine. No one thought Kershner would do Empire justice, and to this day it's the one SW film most people feel is the best. Although you may personally feel Johnson isn't the best choice, he certainly has a more successful background leading into Episode VIII then Kershner did leading into Episode V. Of course, none of that really means anything, but I don't see a negative on this one as long as Lucas isn't directing one bloody scene. I also don't see Abrams completely divorcing himself of the franchise. He's setting the tone, which will help the other films that follow.

Quanah on Jun 21, 2014


Kershner had one thing going for him, he understood that first and foremost, STARWARS is a fantasy. Hopefully, all these directors understand that. I'm just saying, I don't think Johnson is the man for the job. Believe me, I hope I'm wrong. I hope he makes a great film.

cs on Jun 22, 2014


I loved Looper but i agree. The 2nd half kinda fell flat. However, do give him credit in a time of reboots and remakes to create an original idea and execute it rather well. I think the minor flaws are forgivable. Also the budget was rather small and the movie never looked cheap IMO.

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jun 21, 2014


Why is it every time someone disagrees or is skeptical about a movie people always assume they must love Ratner and Bay garbage? I guarantee that we all dislike certain movies and directors that the majority of "smart movie fans" absolutely love

ColinH on Jun 21, 2014


It's because when someones opinion is in the minority people usually respond with hostility. Its just how the net works. 5 people say "Prometheus was amazing" and i said it sucked so of course i got called a troll. 🙂 Its just how it goes...

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jun 21, 2014


HOLY SHIT BALLS. Fuck I`m beyond sold.

Jorrell Mcdaniel on Jun 20, 2014



Jameson Cyr on Jun 21, 2014


That'd be awesome, and I really hope it won't end up like Edgar Wright with the Ant-Man.

Terry Craig on Jun 21, 2014


screw you fake person selling advertising and spamware

anon1 on Jun 21, 2014


I just assumed Abrams was doing them all. I'm an Abrams fan so kind of disappointed with this. Nothing against Johnson whatsoever. Just wanted to see Abrams finish them all. Plus I'm more of a fan of continuity by keeping the same director.

LightningB on Jun 21, 2014


Just my 2 cents. I think JJ is overrated. Granted he knows how to make movies look epic but he tends to copy a LOT from past directors. Which is cool but i think i like Rian a lot more than JJ. Thats just me. And of course you should that all 3 original movies had diff directors from differenced genres and the continuity was never an issue. IN fact, i prefer someone with a fresh approach while building on whatever it is JJ is cooking up. Looper was an excellent movie so i have a lot of faith that Disney wont screw these up.

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jun 21, 2014

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