rian johnson

Deadline is reporting that ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ director Rian Johnson is the frontrunner to take over directorial duties on that film’s sequel, ‘Star Wars: Episode IX,’ now that Colin Trevorrow is officially out from helming the latter film.

No official deal has been done yet, but Deadline quotes sources as saying that Johnson is “atop the shortlist.”  In a way, it makes sense; Disney and LucasFilm have seen recent struggles in regards to creative clashes with directors, as Phil Lord & Chris Miller were released from their duties in helming the Han Solo standalone film before Trevorrow’s dismissal.  So, having a director like Johnson that the powers-that-be know they can trust could go a long way towards having him remain in the fold.

Don’t expect any formal announcement before the release of ‘The Last Jedi,’ as Disney will almost assuredly use that film as a measuring stick of sorts to see how Johnson’s take on the franchise plays with fans.  Johnson, for his part, certainly seems to have embraced his role in the Star Wars legacy; in a recent interview he waxed poetic about the challenges and pleasures of creating a movie in this universe:

“The intimacy of the process. It’s huge, sure, and it’s filled with pressures great and small. But at the end of the day, it boils down to the same things as the smaller films we’ve made: telling a story we care about with a camera and some actors.”

A primary question in all of this is simply: is Deadline right?  There’s no way to tell for sure at this point, of course, but the site does have a fairly solid history of their sources being accurate.  Indeed, Deadline essentially reported this turn of events all the way back in 2014:

“I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground.”

While Episode IX eventually went to Trevorrow, things were subject to change – and apparently, now they have.

Directed by Rian Johnson, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Billie Lourd, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio Del Toro, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong’o, Warwick Davis, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Jimmy Vee.

‘Sat Wars: The Last Jedi’ opens in American theaters on December 15, 2017.