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Rian Johnson is nearing the end of his work on The Last Jedi, but (to quote the voice of ghost Obi-Wan) “these are his first steps.”
The filmmaker has signed on to create an entirely new Star Wars trilogy, while The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is returning to take on 2019’s Episode IX.
Lucasfilm is also developing a live-action Star Wars series that will be part of Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed on a company earnings call this afternoon.
While there were fewer details about that project, much more information was made available about this surprise new series of movies.
Johnson’s trilogy will be “separate from the episodic Skywalker saga,” Lucasfilm said in a statement. “Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.”
If the current pattern holds, there will be another stand-alone film (like Rogue One and next year’s Solo) released in 2020, and this new trilogy could begin in 2021 — although no release dates have been set.
It’s a strong show of faith in the Brick and Looper filmmaker, especially after Lucasfilm has had a strained relationship with some directors, replacing The Lego Movie‘s Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard on Solo, and bumping Colin Trevorrow in favor of Abrams for Episode IX.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said: “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.”
Also along for the ride is Johnson’s Chewie — his longtime producer Ram Bergman, who joined the Star Wars family on The Last Jedi and will continue with the new trilogy.
“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi,” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”
The Last Jedi hits theaters on Dec. 15. Lucasfilm ended its statement by saying: “No porgs were available for comment.”
You can guess their reaction: