Hoping to take the weight of the world’s eyes off of Harrison Ford’s hobbled leg long enough for him to heal, Lucasfilm has reportedly let slip that Rian Johnson will write and/or direct Star Wars: Episodes VIII and IX—an announcement that comes as something of a surprise to those who believed J.J. Abrams had selfishly hoarded all the realization of childhood dreams from his generation of directors. Both Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter are in agreement that Johnson is attached to write and direct Episode VIII – Mr. Solo Takes A Vacation, but only Deadline seems to think he’ll also be in charge of Episode IX. (The Wrap says so far he’s only been hired to write a treatment.) Either way, the edict is clear: Abrams will help relaunch the franchise, then turn the reins over to a group of talented directors that includes Gareth Edwards, Josh Trank, and now Johnson, before moving off to the Buck Rogers reboot he’s really been angling for.
As for Johnson, he proved with Looper that he has a way with telling complex science-fiction stories in a grounded and humanistic way. Before that, he proved with Brick that he has a knack for jargon-filled dialogue—all the better for characters who are asked to say things like, “You look strong enough to pull the ears off a gundark” while only mildly hinting that they’re dying inside. And he’s done impressive work on television with his episodes of Breaking Bad, finally providing the necessary link between those two universes for the purposes of memes that the Internet was so cruelly denied when Jesse Plemons rumors didn’t pan out.
These films are not due until I am well into my 40s. Jesus Christ.