There is a disturbance in the Force. A good one, at least; Lucasfilm has announced that, following their work with Rian Johnson on The Last Jedi, the director will return again for an all-new trilogy of movies.
Not much of the specifics are known yet, but Disney has stated that Johnson’s new movies will be a whole new story, not connected to the existing adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron.
This, without a doubt, is the best idea for the future of the franchise that Dismey could possibly have settled on.
Thus far all we’ve seen of the current trilogy of Star Wars movies is JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens. This film isn’t hugely flawed, but, in standard JJ Abrams fashion, it plays things extremely safe, borrowing heavily from the original Star Wars film. From the looks of things, The Last Jedi will continue this tradition, following a blueprint that Abrams has set out for the trilogy.
Getting a Star Wars movie that feels so much like the Original Trilogy was wonderful when the film debuted in 2015, but the franchise can’t simply recycle old plot points and visuals forever – eventually, we’re going to need to get some more unique movies that push the boat out a bit.
Johnson seems eager to do this with The Last Jedi, as the trailers suggest that the lines between good and evil are to be blurred somewhat in the film. Nevertheless, Johnson is constrained by Abrams’ plan, and that means he’s not able to stray too far from the established Star Wars formula.
As Disney prepares to wrap up the current trilogy, the company is no doubt worrying about the future of the brand. The temptation is to immediately make another movie with Rey and friends, instantly continuing the story, but the danger there is that people will get burned out on the franchise.
Disney needs main series Star Wars films to be once-in-a-generation events, and for now, they need new filler material to keep people turning up to theaters once a year.
Lucasfilm doesn’t seem hugely keen to bet wholeheartedly on their “anthology” Star Wars series. Both Rogue One and Solo have endured incredibly chaotic production periods, and neither are exactly longrunning sagas in the making.
Plus, Lucasfilm has been struggling more than a little to find directors that fit the studio’s vision of the future of Star Wars. Rian Johnson has proven a success, so naturally, Lucasfilm will be trying to stick with him.
As for the upcoming trilogy itself, with Johnson no longer shackled by JJ Abrams’ watchful eye, and free to explore different time periods and characters in the Star Wars canon, we have the potential to get something other than just another Skywalker story.
The Star Wars universe is big and vast and complicated, and there are various other time periods that would be fantastic to visit in live action. Stories exist in the wider canon of books, comics, and video games, that would translate perfectly to the big screen, or, alternatively, Johnson could make up something completely original, redefining Star Wars.
The last time we really saw something new from a Star Wars movie, it was The Phantom Menace. Sure, the movie sucked, but that doesn’t mean we should be afraid of newer, younger directors coming in and giving us a fresh take on an unexplored corner of the galaxy.
If you, like many Star Wars fans, are worrying that the future of the franchise will involve constantly revisiting the same few sets and characters over and over again, then Rian Johnson’s new trilogy provides the thing that rebellions are built on: hope.