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Rian Johnson Unsure When He’ll Start New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy, Lucasfilm ‘Figuring Out Schedule’

Zack Sharf

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi” fans looking forward to Rian Johnson’s return to the space opera franchise will probably want to get comfortable waiting. The writer-director has told the Evening Standard that he remains in the dark about when Lucasfilm intends to get production rolling on his already-announced new “Star Wars” trilogy, so much so that he is already eyeing the possibility of making another original feature in between “Knives Out” and his next “Star Wars” film.

“The truth is they’re still figuring out their schedule, their game plan,” Johnson said when asked for “Star Wars” updates. “If it’s possible for me to squeeze in another film before or while working on that, I will.”

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Lucasfilm announced in November 2017 ahead of the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” that it was hiring Johnson to direct a new trilogy in the franchise. The polarizing fan response to the movie has led some to wonder if Lucasfilm has secretly parted ways with Johnson, but the filmmaker has continually maintained he is still attached and excited to dive back into the “Star Wars” universe. Johnson told The Observer in August that his new storyline will go beyond the characters the franchise has explored to date.

“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.”

Now the question remains when Johnson will be able to start working on his next “Star Wars” movie, which is clearly an answer the writer-director does not have at this time. Lucasfilm has already dated three “Star Wars” movies for after the release of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” this December. The untitled films will open in theaters in December 2022, 2024, and 2026. The 2022 film will be directed by “Game of Thrones” creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, but Lucasfilm has not confirmed whether the 2024 or 2026 dates are for Johnson or for Weiss and Benioff’s trilogy.

The next “Star Wars” movie, “The Rise of Skywalker,” is opening nationwide from Disney on December 20. Johnson’s original murder-mystery “Knives Out” debuted to critical acclaim at TIFF and will hit theaters November 27 via Lionsgate.

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