I have no idea if the upcoming Star Wars sequels and spin-offs will be great or terrible or somewhere in the middle (most likely). But what I will say is, Disney and Lucasfilm know the exact right way to really get true geek excitement pumping up.
Rather than just bank on the Star Wars brand as the main source of excitement, they’ve assembled a truly stellar cast and a lot of outstanding talent behind the camera. Abrams I can honestly take or leave, but Josh Trank and Gareth Edwards have both been tapped for spin-off movies, and now Rian Johnson has become involved with both writing AND directing Episodes VIII and IX, essentially helming the rest of this new trilogy.
I’m torn on this news… I’m obviously happy in that Johnson is an amazing writer and director, who focuses on characters and gets great performances out of his actors. And this is a huge, high profile and likely well-paying gig for him. But on the other hand, Johnson has a lot of life left as a filmmaker, and his original movies have been so good, I sort of wish he’d just keep doing his own things as opposed to tying down to a franchise.
While it was obviously a much smaller scale, Johnson did manage to balance directing Breaking Bad alongside his own movie projects, so maybe a two-picture commitment to Star Wars won’;t necessarily sideline him completely from other projects?
At the end of the day, I’m gonna call this good news, just like Edwards and Trank– when push comes to shove, A Johnson-directed Star Wars movie has way more chance of being worth watching than one directed by someone else. So I’ll remain hopeful… even if that hope isn’t exactly “new” anymore.