The original plan regarding the latest Star Wars trilogy had been widely reported as:

  • J.J. Abrams would direct Episode VII (The Force Awakens)
  • Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII (The Last Jedi)
  • Colin Trevorrow would direct the yet-untitled Episode IX

The first two of these have come to pass, but recently it was announced that Trevorrow would not direct Episode IX and that J.J. Abrams would return to direct it.

As it seems that critics and (some) Star Wars fans are praising Rian Johnson's efforts, I'm wondering if Johnson was considered at all for Episode IX after Trevorrow's departure.

  • I've changed the tags to make them fit what the question is about as opposed to what it mentions, roll-back if you disagree.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 21, 2017 at 14:47
  • Thanks, but I think Force Awakens and Last Jedi are relevant to the question, as Abrams' and Johnson's respective efforts in those films, and the general reception of those efforts, are part of the issue at hand. In a sense, it is a question about the direction of the trilogy as a whole. :-)
    – Praxis
    Dec 21, 2017 at 14:50
  • You're the boss ;-)
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 21, 2017 at 15:00
  • 1
    "As it seems that critics and Star Wars fans alike are praising Rian Johnson's efforts" Man... did ti really seem like that at the time? That's not how I remember it...
    – Harabeck
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


According to Johnson, it was "never in the cards".

This, to him, seemed to be "always the plan", and he's just exited to work on the new trilogy he had pitched and was set to direct.

It was never in the cards. It was always the plan for me to do this, and then hand it off to the next director, whoever that was going to be. So, I never had that really in my head, and now I'm just really excited about the next trilogy.
Cinema Blend - How close Rian Johnson really came to directing Star Wars Episode 9

According to this Slash Film article, The Hollywood reporter caught up with Rian and asked him about Episode IX getting the following response.

J.J. Abrams is doing a third movie. I’m not involved in it. They’ll be writing their own story but continuing on with what we did.
The Hollywood Reporter - Interview with Rian Johnson

In a statement he'd made in September, he follows the same sentiment

“It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode 9, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it… for me, I was entirely focused on Episode 8 and having this experience. Now I’m just thinking about putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it. So no, I’m not really thinking about that right now. 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.”

JJ Abrams was announced on the 12th of September 2017 to be coming back to reprise the role of writer and director for Episode IX

With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy
Kathleen Kennedy - StarWars.com

According to this vulture article, the reason for Trevorrow's departure was due to creative differences/personal differences with Kathleen Kennedy. Supported by this article on StarWars.com (apologies for the fruitful language)

“There’s one gatekeeper when it comes to Star Wars and it’s Kathleen Kennedy,” says a veteran movie producer, who has worked with the studio chief. “If you rub Kathleen Kennedy the wrong way — in any way — you’re out. You’re done. A lot of these young, new directors want to come in and say, ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.’ A lot of these guys — Lord and Miller, Colin Trevorrow — got very rich, very fast and believed a lot of their own hype. And they don’t want to play by the rules. They want to do shit differently. And Kathleen Kennedy isn’t going to fuck around with that.”
Vulture - Colin Trevorrow’s Firing From Star Wars Is Another Reminder That No Director Will Ever Be Bigger Than the Franchise

  • 1
    What's your source for the last quote? I don't see it at the starwars.com page you link to directly above it. (Also, I think you mean "salty language" - "fruitful" is an entirely positive adjective which means something like "productive".)
    – Martha
    Dec 21, 2017 at 8:03
  • The Vulture article, I'll make that a little clearer. And no, I meant fruitful language, it's a common thing rugby commentators say, as someone who is not opposed to the language, yet obliged to apologise as part of their network contract.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 21, 2017 at 8:09

Apparently part of Johnson's contract for helming The Last Jedi was to be offered a whole trilogy of his own — and which may already be under development — and he would be quite busy with wrapping up post-production. If he was considered, it probably wouldn't have been for long.

CinemaBlend - Rian Johnson Star Wars trilogy

  • Thanks, this is interesting. I've upvoted, but was it really part of his "contract" to have his own trilogy? The article you provided doesn't really say that. It just sounds like a bunch of ideas being pitched, to which LucasFilm seems to be receptive.
    – Praxis
    Dec 21, 2017 at 14:47
  • I read it elsewhere, can't remember where to get the quote, though, sorry. But apparently he took a bit of convincing to take on the film - he was also given permission to completely rewrite Kasdan's script
    – HorusKol
    Dec 21, 2017 at 22:50
  • 4
    Rian's trilogy is "on permanent hold" and likely to be cancelled. That's what you get for nearly killing a £4Bn franchise
    – Valorum
    Dec 24, 2019 at 22:01

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