Rian Johnson's Star Wars Trilogy Could Still Get Made

Director Rian Johnson's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" riled up the "Star Wars" fanbase when it arrived in 2017, but that was also kind of the point. It's a movie that wants to challenge your preconceived ideas about "Star Wars" in order to evolve the franchise and bring it into the future, keeping the parts that still work while learning from the mistakes of the past. "The Last Jedi" was a big swing and one that had the potential to usher in a brave new era of storytelling in a galaxy far, far away on the big screen. 

Except, that didn't happen. Instead, the "Last Jedi" sequel — 2019's J.J. Abrams-directed "The Rise of Skywalker" — spun its wheels trying to undo much of Johnson's movie before heading in a far more familiar and unsatisfying direction. In the wake of the film's middling critical response (financially, of course, it was still a huge success), Disney and Lucasfilm hit the brakes on other "Star Wars" movies in order to focus on developing a variety of TV series for Disney+. This also meant shelving a new "Star Wars" film trilogy from Johnson, which was announced right before "The Last Jedi" opened in theaters.

Coming up on five years after that announcement, there have been numerous conflicting rumors about Johnson's trilogy, with some claiming it has definitely been canceled and others stating it could still, maybe, possibly happen one day ... we think. Johnson himself is refusing to give up on the idea, even now as he continues to take on new assignments that don't include the words "Star Wars" anywhere in their titles.

'It would break my heart if I were finished'

After seeing the vitriol he had to deal with online in reaction to "The Last Jedi," Johnson would be forgiven if he decided he never wanted to set foot near a Star War again. It's not that the film is perfect (Captain Phasma, you deserved better) or even my personal favorite Disney-era "Star Wars" title (hello, "Star Wars Rebels"). But it is a bold movie that tries to engage its audience rather than placate them. That also makes you wonder what Johnson could do with a clean slate to tell a story of his own making in a galaxy far, far away.

In an interview with Empire Magazine, Johnson insisted he's not giving up on his "Star Wars" trilogy, even after five years of little to no movement:

"I've stayed close to [Lucasfilm President] Kathleen [Kennedy] and we get together often and talk about it. It's just at this point a matter of schedule and when it can happen. It would break my heart if I were finished, if I couldn't get back in that sandbox at some point."

Johnson's comments echo what Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told Empire earlier this year, in which she cited Johnson's ongoing success with the "Knives Out" franchise as a factor holding up his trilogy:

"Now, everybody's so busy – genuinely busy and working on things. Rian had such a gigantic success with 'Knives Out' that he's very committed to try and get that done. So it'll be a while. And we have to work three, five years in advance on what we're doing. So that's where that sits. But we love him."

Will Johnson eventually have to abandon this quest? Very possibly, even likely at the stage. But until then: Never tell him the odds!