Disney has announced that Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is returning to the franchise to develop a new trilogy of films after the release of Star Wars: Episode IX. Additionally, Johnson will also write and direct the first installment of the new trilogy.
The announcement shows exactly what Disney has planned for the series after the ninth film in the Skywalker saga (Episodes I through IX). According to StarWars.com, this new trilogy will be separate from that saga, introducing new characters from a part of the Star Wars galaxy the previous films have never explored. Johnson is developing the new movies with his longtime producer Ram Bergman.
In a statement, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says, “We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi. 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.”
Johnson and Bergman shared their excitement about the possibilities that come with creating their own corner of the Star Wars universe. In a joint statement, the director and producer say, “We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi. 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 news of the new trilogy comes the same day as the announcement that a live-action Star Wars TV series is in the works for Disney’s upcoming streaming service, which is expected to launch in 2019. At this point there is no release date for the first installment of the new trilogy. The Johnson-directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be in theaters on December 16. Star Wars: Episode IX will follow on December 20, 2019. That film will be directed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens helmer JJ Abrams.