Once Rian Johnson has completed his promotional run for the upcoming mystery film Knives Out, which he wrote and directed, he will step back into a galaxy far, far away to continue working on the first installment in his Star Wars trilogy. Prior to the theatrical release of 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm and Disney announced that Johnson would be given a "blank canvas" to create a new trio of movies for the storied franchise.
"We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi," Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said. "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."
Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, which will hit theaters in December, is being billed as the final entry in the latest trilogy which started with The Force Awakens and was followed by the aforementioned The Last Jedi. It's safe to assume that Johnson will be given this "blank canvas" to create a new world in the Star Wars universe that will allow him to use new characters without incorporating the ones established since Force Awakens.
John Boyega, who plays Finn, may have let it slip to MTV News in April that his character's arc will come to an end with The Rise of Skywalker. "Honestly, the bottom of my heart, I don’t think I am [coming back]," Boyega said. "I don’t think I am. I really do feel that way. This really is that movie, I think everyone doesn’t believe it, but this is that war that just ends everything."
With so much freedom being given to Johnson, how does he even approach the daunting task of crafting this next trilogy of Star Wars films? The Looper writer and director provided Observer with some insight into his process.
"I think that the fun and challenging part of it is to dive in, figure out what’s exciting and then figure out what it’s going to be," he said. "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. I know the way that I'm coming at it and what's fun about it for everyone in George Lucas’ 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."
Following the release of The Rise of Skywalker, Disney CEO Bob Iger says the Star Wars franchise will "take a pause, some time, and reset" before the first movie in Johnson's trilogy hits theaters. And we will definitely need that hiatus, especially if Kevin Smith is right about this upcoming film.