Via Deadline‘s Mike Fleming:
I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground and is right now helming Episode VII. I don’t know too much more at this point, but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicle‘s Josh Trank and Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards.
We’ll let you know if/when this gets confirmed.
Among Johnson’s credits are Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and his biggest film, Looper. I personally didn’t like that last one, but everything else I’ve seen of Johnson’s I’ve really enjoyed, and I respect him as an artist. Side note: I’m pleased that Lucasfilm has been branching out with their directors instead of pinning all their movies on one person (*cough*WarnerBros*cough*).
Now, the real question: Who’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt gonna play? Cmon, they’re a package deal—he’s been in every single Rian Johnson movie. Even The Brothers Bloom, starring Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody, had a JGL cameo because “Heyyyyy, I can’t do a movie without you in it, c’mooonnnnnn!”
Upate: According to The Wrap, Johnson will write and direct VIII and IX, and he’ll write the treatment for IX but not direct or write the screenplay. Still nothing official from Lucasfilm, but Johnson tweeted this:
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 20, 2014
Make of that what you will.