Last Jedi's Rian Johnson Strongly Suggests He Won't Be Directing Star Wars Episode IX

Image: Disney
Image: Disney

If Las Vegas took odds on Colin Trevorrow’s replacement for Star Wars Episode IX, the odds on favorite would have to be Episode VIII director Rian Johnson. However, in a new interview, he basically says he’s not going to do it, without actually saying he’s not going to do it.

“It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it,” Johnson said in a Japanese press conference. “For me, I was entirely focused on Episode VIII and having this experience and now I’m just thinking of putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it.”

“So no, I’m not really thinking about that now,” he continued. “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.”


Here’s the video.

Now, Johnson never specifically says he’s not doing it. But he certainly suggests it, especially in that last comment about being an audience member. On the flip side, if he was going to do it, he would be at the mercy of Disney and Lucasfilm as to when he could say so. A news conference like this would not be the place for such an announcement. So, while I wouldn’t 100% put the nail in the coffin of possibility, it’s certainly much further closed than last week.

Most insiders were reporting that Johnson was the surefire frontrunner but with him potentially out of the mix, the conversation most likely turns back to the man we first said: J.J. Abrams. Hopefully, we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15. Episode IX opens May 24, 2019.

[Star Wars Underworld]


Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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The impression I get is that Kennedy really liked working with Johnson, and felt that he had a grasp on the franchise and a sense of professionalism that the other filmmakers — Trank, Edwards, Lord/Miller, Trevorrow — did not. My guess is that if Ep. VIII doesn’t disappoint (i.e., makes less than $2 billion), Johnson will be asked to direct IX.