Rian Johnson to Write, Direct Star Wars: Episode VIII Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 06.20.2014
Looper director may be involved with Episode IX too...
With Star Wars: Episode VII well in hand and two standalone Star Wars spin-offs in the works, Disney is already looking ahead to the next episodes in the Saga. Deadline, Variety and The Wrap all report that Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) is in talks to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. Deadline claims that he will also be taking both roles on Star Wars: Episode IX as well, although The Wrap says he will write the treatment for the ninth film but won't direct it. (Variety makes no mention of Episode IX at all.)
Johnson is a genre favorite, having written and directed Looper which hit many critics and fans' top films lists in 2012 and grossed $176 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. He has also directed the neo-noir Brick and took the directorial role on three episodes of Breaking Bad--"Fly," "Fifty-One," and "Ozymandias." The latter is considered one of the best episodes of that acclaimed series.
Johnson will be taking the baton from J.J. Abrams, who co-wrote Star Wars: Episode VII with Lawrence Kasdan and is currently in production on the highly-anticipated film. In addition, Disney has Garreth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle) set to direct two stand-alone spin-offs of the franchise. Abrams' part in the next two films isn't currently known, although Bad Robot is a producer for them. It's entirely possible that Abrams might take a role similar to how Joss Whedon is shepherding the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Zack Snyder is for DC, although that's speculative at this point.
Star Wars: Episode VII will release on December 18th, 2015. Release dates have not been announced for the other films as of yet, although intimations have been made that Disney and Lucasfilm want to release one per year.