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‘Brand-new Star Wars trilogy’ coming from Rian Johnson, Disney says

The Force will live on

Disney's D23 EXPO 2017 - Rian Johnson
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson at D23 2017 in July.
Jesse Grant/Getty Images
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Rian Johnson will develop a “brand-new Star Wars trilogy” for Disney and Lucasfilm, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced during an earnings call today.

Lucasfilm and Disney later added in a news release that Johnson will write and direct the first entry in that new trilogy. Ram Bergman, a longtime collaborator of Johnson’s, will produce the film.

“In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored,” said Lucasfilm and Disney in the news release.

Johnson, 43, is the writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the middle entry in the new Star Wars trilogy. It is the eighth mainline Star Wars film.

“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “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.”

“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi,” Johnson and Bergman said. “Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”

Johnson is not involved with Episode IX, which is being co-written and directed by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and was delayed to December 2019 upon the Abrams announcement.

Today’s news suggests that Disney and Lucasfilm are immensely confident in The Last Jedi, which hits theaters Dec. 15. The companies said they have not yet set release dates for the three new films of the fourth Star Wars trilogy, although presumably the first one won’t arrive until 2020 or later.

George Lucas created the Star Wars franchise, which began in 1977 with the original Star Wars (later renamed Episode IV: A New Hope). Following the conclusion of that first trilogy with 1983’s Return of the Jedi, the series lay dormant for the better part of two decades. Lucas revived Star Wars in 1999 with a prequel trilogy led by The Phantom Menace; 2005’s Revenge of the Sith closed that loop. After Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, the companies relaunched the series with a sequel trilogy, starting with The Force Awakens in 2015.

Update: Here’s what Johnson had to say on Twitter.

Correction (Nov. 10): Johnson is credited as the sole writer of The Last Jedi, not a co-writer. We’ve edited the article to reflect this.