How Much Freedom Will Rian Johnson Have on His “Star Wars” Trilogy?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Work has begun in earnest on Rian Johnson’s brand new “Star Wars” trilogy, albeit without too much momentum just yet.

According to Johnson’s producing partner, Ram Bergman:

“We’ve started. Slowly, slowly, but we’ve started. Hopefully soon we’re going to get busier.”

Johnson backs this up, saying that in truth, he still has to “figure out what it’s going to be”. While work has started, it seems that there’s still a long way to go.

The big question surrounding this trilogy is just how much freedom Rian Johnson is going to have. The announcement that Johnson would get his own “Star Wars” trilogy came before the release of “The Last Jedi”, which has proven divisive among fans, to say the least.

It’s pretty clear that Lucasfilm wasn’t expecting Johnson’s movie to end up drawing so much ire from viewers, and it’s entirely likely that the studio will want to do some damage control to make sure that the next three films that’ll come from the director won’t be quite so polarizing.

What’s more, it’s clear now that Johnson doesn’t have all the “Star Wars” eggs in his basket – Lucasfilm has also given the “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss a similar opportunity to make a trilogy of movies, and there are other various sundry movies in the works to try and expand the “Star Wars” brand.

Rian Johnson Directing The Last Jedi
Source: Lucasfilm

Looking at everything that’s happened in the past few months, it’s unlikely that Rian Johnson is going to get the complete creative control on his series that he might have received had “The Last Jedi” been as popular as Lucasfilm expected it to be.

As the trilogy is still very much in the early planning phases, Lucasfilm will no doubt want to get stuck in, giving direction to the project so that the result won’t be anything that rocks the boat too wildly. A lot of people objected to Johnson’s approach to some of the more traditional aspects of “Star Wars” canon, so this being the case, Lucasfilm probably won’t want him going too far off script with whatever he does next.

Johnson’s controversial direction for “The Last Jedi” hasn’t exactly hurt the movie’s profits, but Lucasfilm is looking at an uphill struggle to try and maintain brand cohesion in the coming years. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” isn’t exactly a strong contender for a “Star Wars” movie this summer, with trailers making the project look very unappealing to many hardcore fans, and if Lucasfilm isn’t careful, their movies will end up gaining a reputation for being less than fantastic.

Rian Johnson and Chewbacca
Source: Lucasfilm

This, obviously, didn’t damage the Prequel Trilogy too terribly, so no matter what Rian Johnson does, it’s unlikely to kill “Star Wars” or anything quite so dramatic. When his trilogy does debut, though, it’s worth assuming that it might not be quite as original and innovative as Johnson had initially hoped.

But, then, in fairness, if you want to make an original innovative movie, you shouldn’t make a spin-off to a forty-year-old mega franchise. That’s like wanting to create an entirely new chef specialty pizza while working at Burger King.