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Rian Johnson gets caught in Star Wars’ tractor beam

Lucasfilm continues to appear bullish on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, tapping writer-director Rian Johnson to helm a whole new trilogy:

For director Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just the beginning of his journey in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce. 

If you’d told me a few years ago that Rian Johnson, one of my favourite young directors, would one day be directing multiple Star Wars films, I’d have been ecstatic. Upon reading this news this morning, though, my heart sank. Lucasfilm is clearly very happy with what Johnson’s done with The Last Jedi, but it’s going to be the third Star Wars movie in as many years. A new Star Wars film was once a special event, but this recent trend of releasing a new entry each and every year makes them feel regular and commonplace. There’s value in scarcity, after all, and Lucasfilm doling out new trilogies and television shows like sweets is chipping away at the franchise’s cultural weight year by year.

I’m also concerned about what this means for Johnson. His last movie, Looper, was released five years ago, and now it may be just as long again until we see him create another original movie. It appears that he’ll have a great deal of creative control, and indeed is being given free reign to tell a story removed from the Skywalker saga, but he’s still going to be playing in someone else’s sandbox. I enjoy Star Wars and Marvel movies a great deal, and I’m glad both studios are turning to exciting talents like Johnson and Taika Waititi to keep things fresh. It would be a great shame, though, for these directors to be tied up in the machinery of franchise filmmaking for too long, as they’re capable of delivering the original concepts and ideas that Hollywood is in desperate need of right now.

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