Rian Johnson’s New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Isn’t Dead Yet: Director Still Meets With Lucasfilm Boss and Says ‘It’d Break My Heart’ If It Goes Unmade

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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd. /Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s been nearly five years since Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opened in theaters to rave reviews from critics (many of whom called it one of the best “Star Wars” movies ever made) and a far more divisive response from the fandom. Just before the film opened in theaters, Lucasfilm announced Johnson would be sticking with the studio to develop a brand new “Star Wars” trilogy with fresh characters, but it’s been radio silence on the plan ever since. Fans have speculated that the controversial reception to “The Last Jedi” killed Johnson’s chances of making another trilogy, but the director recently told Empire magazine that his talks with Lucasfilm continue about the project.

“I’ve stayed close to Kathleen [Kennedy] and we get together often and talk about it,” Johnson said about his new “Star Wars” trilogy, five years after it was first announced. “It’s just at this point a matter of schedule and when it can happen. It would break my heart if I were finished, if I couldn’t get back in that sandbox at some point.”

Johnson has often cited scheduling conflicts when asked in the past about his “Star Wars” trilogy, telling the Evening Standard in 2019, “The truth is they’re still figuring out their schedule, their game plan. If it’s possible for me to squeeze in another film before or while working on that, I will.” He also spoke to The Observer in 2019 about his plan to explore new characters.

“We’re doing something that steps beyond the legacy characters. What does that look like? To me, the blue sky element of it is what was most striking about it,” Johnson said. “I know the way that I’m coming at it, and what’s fun about it for everyone in George Lucas’s films, is figuring out, ‘What’s the next step?’ It really makes you think and figure out what the essence of ‘Star Wars’ is for me and what that will look like moving forward.”

The question still remains whether or not Johnson and Lucasfilm will ever find the time to make his “Star Wars” trilogy. After “The Last Jedi” opened, Johnson went into development on “Knives Out,” which became such a box office surprise that it launched a new franchise for the writer-director. A second “Knives Out” film, titled “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this month and hitting Netflix on Dec. 23. The streaming giant has also ordered a third “Knives Out” film from Johnson and star Daniel Craig.

As for “The Last Jedi,” Johnson recently said he remains “even more proud of it five years on” despite some of the hostile reactions to it from the fandom.

“When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball,” he told Empire. “I think it’s impossible for any of us to approach ‘Star Wars’ without thinking about it as a myth that we were raised with, and how that myth, that story, baked itself into us and affected us. The ultimate intent was not to strip away — the intent was to get to the basic, fundamental power of myth. And ultimately I hope the film is an affirmation of the power of the myth of ‘Star Wars’ in our lives.”