You hear that, folks?
It’s the hype train! All aboooooooard, the hype train is leaving the station!
Yes indeed, Disney are reportedly so pleased with Rian Johnson—writer-director of this year’s Star Wars instalment, The Last Jedi—that they have reportedly granted him leave to create his own trilogy within that vast universe.
Here’s the thing: Personally I am quite ambivalent about the new Star Wars movies. Especially what with the whole annualised release schedule thing that Disney have got going on. I’m gonna go ahead and quote myself here:
I’m sick of it already. Once they were mythical monoliths. Still products of a money-oriented business, sure, but there is something about the assembly-line Disney-ification of the Star Wars franchise that fills me with dread. Like any remaining magic is being slowly and methodically drained out. There was good in The Force Awakens and Rogue One, but it seemed like it was in spite of the controlling hand of the puppet master, rather than because of it. Call me a cynic, sure, but the recent Han Solo movie news about the firing of Lord & Miller looks too much like the stifling hand of corporate control hovering heavily over the restless spirit of invention. I don’t care if this time it’s Larry Kasdan, long-time Star Wars auteur. You’re gonna end up grinding this series into the dust if you’re not careful.
The potential ray of light on the horizon is The Last Jedi, and that is for one main reason: Rian Johnson. Johnson is a wonderfully gifted filmmaker—if you haven’t seen Brick, for the love of god do so now—but Disney being so happy with his work could mean one of two things:
1) He has delivered an original, exciting Star Wars movie that will inject into the series some much-needed magic and that bodes well for the rejuvenation going forward.
2) He has kept his head down, he hasn’t rocked the boat, and in the process he has created a safe, Disney-approved product that will be entertaining enough without inspiring any great passion.
Or, you know, it could be a mix of both.
According to the official Star Wars website,
As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.
“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”
On an additional note, Mark Hamill recently said of Johnson:
Rian, what a blessing that guy is. He is unassuming and amiable. I’ve never seen him raise his voice. I’ve never heard him curse. I have never heard him humiliate anybody else in front of the entire crew.
Considering how much the industry is being forced to reckon with its endemic culture of toxic masculinity at the moment, wow—what a breath of fresh air that sounds like eh?