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Despite Rumors, Rian Johnson and His Star Wars Trilogy Are Not Going Anywhere

The director is staying with Lucasfilm.

TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 06: Director Rian Johnson attends the 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Japan Premiere & Red Carpet at Roppongi Hills on December 6, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Disney)

Last night, Twitter went wild when an unconfirmed rumor dropped that Last Jedi director Rian Johnson was no longer working with Lucasfilm. It’s a little murky as to where the rumor started—an article from SuperBro Movies claimed to hear things from three separate sources, and several critics vague-tweeted Star Wars gifs—but for at least an hour, it was pure chaos on Star Wars Twitter and other social media sites. (I can only imagine what Reddit was like.)

For those not in the know, Johnson was hired to create his own trilogy of movies prior to the release of The Last Jedi, and there were some rumors that he would be brought on for Episode IX. Despite the divided fan response to The Last Jedi, there was strong critical praise, and the film performed incredibly well at the box office, something which Disney recently hammered home on their investors’ call at the start of the year. There was, at the time, no reason for Johnson to part with Lucasfilm, which is why the news came as a shock.

Johnson himself politely debunked the rumors after a short bout of mayhem overtook the Internet.

No harm, no foul indeed. Johnson handled it like a consummate professional, which he’s been doing for pretty much the entire post-Last Jedi run. While there are some very important, legitimate critiques of The Last Jedi, personal attacks on Johnson are not among them.

It’s important to remember moments like those at Star Wars Celebration 2017, when Johnson came down to visit those waiting in line overnight for his panel at 1 in the morning to say hello and sign autographs. Regardless of what you think of the man’s film, he has always had a passion for the Star Wars fanbase and has handled personal attacks and vitriol with grace. He has never once lashed out or been rude to a fan, even though sometimes fans cross a line with him.

I have to say, despite constant confusion about how I feel about The Last Jedi (which has been well documented on this site), Johnson has had my respect for how he has dealt with the fanbase. When I first heard the rumors and believed them for an hour or so, I felt sick, worried that once more, the internet would claim another Star Wars creative.

From Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd to Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran, sometimes the fandom can be a cruel place. I worried that, if the trolls could drive Johnson away, what would that mean for those of us who aren’t operating at the same privilege level?

The idea of covering the victory laps from those who hated The Last Jedi for being “SJW propaganda” exhausted me, so I’ll admit I did a victory dance and let out a sigh of relief when Johnson debunked the rumors. While I think he might need some other voices behind the scenes avoiding some of the mistakes he made in The Last Jedi with characters like Finn and Poe, I loved Looper and Brick, so I am excited to see what he does unconnected to the Skywalker Saga.

This remains a cautionary tale about rumors, and a testament to Johnson’s constant positive attitude with the fandom.

(image: Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Disney)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.

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