Rian Johnson responds to Star Wars Episode IX director speculation

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson's name has been in the mix since Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm parted ways

Rian Johnson

Who will direct Star Wars Episode IX now that Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm have “mutually decided to part ways”? Fans have been wondering if Rian Johnson will step up for another go after The Last Jedi – but the director himself isn’t so sure.

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As the next movie in the Star Wars sequel trilogy casts around for a new director, two big names in the mix have been Johnson – who could follow on directly from his own movie – and The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams.

Still, Johnson has pushed the issue to one side in the run-up to The Last Jedi’s December release date, playing down reports.

Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill
Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill (Getty)

“It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it,” he said at a press conference in Japan.

“For me, I was entirely focused on Episode VIII and having this experience, and now I’m just thinking about putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it. So no, I’m not really thinking about that right now.

“Whoever does it, I’m going to be really excited to be an audience member again, and to sit down and see what the next filmmaker has to show us, and where this story ends up going.”

While he’s not explicitly ruled himself out, it doesn’t sound like taking on the next episode in the Star Wars story is even on Johnson’s radar.

Jurassic World director Trevorrow had been on board to direct Episode IX since 2015.

Colin Trevorrow
Colin Trevorrow (Getty)

But last week news broke that he’d left the project, with Disney saying in a statement: “Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX. Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process, but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ.”

Variety indicates that the decision may have come down to a clash over the script after Disney hired British screenwriter Jack Thorne as an additional writer to work on a draft by Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released in the UK on 15th December 2017. Episode IX is due in 2019