Rian Johnson Didn’t Want To Direct Star Wars But Ruined It Anyway

He'd have a hard time saying no.

By Steven Nelson | Updated

Back when Star Wars was getting the sequel trilogies up and running, around the time that LucasFilm had become part of Disney for good, all kinds of directors seemed to be in the running to helm the upcoming films. Not much was known about the Star Wars path at that point, but it was clear something big was going to happen.

So directors, especially ones with recent sci-fi hits were asked their thoughts about getting into the Star Wars mix. J.J. Abrams was there after helming Star Trek, Colin Trevorrow was asked about his interest, and even Wes Anderson was thrown in there. Of course, Rian Johnson, fresh of off Looper got into the discussion as well.

There was reason to think Rian Johnson was a great choice to direct upcoming Star Wars movies, but at the time, he appeared more interested in playing his own sandbox rather than George Lucas’.

Speaking to Digital Spy in 2013, Rian Johnson admitted that he’d be tempted by a Star Wars offer but was more interested in telling his own stories for the time being.

Rian Johnson said, in part, “I don’t think I’m on those sorts of lists. On the one hand, it’s Star Wars, it would be very hard to say no to. On the other hand, for me, I’m really enjoying just writing my own stuff, and right now that’s what I’m doing, I’m writing another original screenplay now, and we’ll figure out how to get it made. That’s sort of what I’m in it for, is telling my own stories, and seeing if we can strike out on some new ground. So, luckily I don’t think it’s a problem that I’ll have to deal with!”

Sure, Rian Johnson is being a bit humble here and clearly not wanting to appear over-eager. And there’s reason to believe, coming off one of the best movies of the year in Looper, he was getting all kinds of well-deserved attention.

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And maybe Rian Johnson should have stuck with those original Star Wars feelings. He was interested in telling his own stories after all. Instead, what happened next created some bigger Star Wars problems.

Rian Johnson took over directing and screenplay duties for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and gave us a pretty major hiccup in the franchise. So many things went wrong with this film that it’s tough to know where to start. He made Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker a bitter and complaining (read: annoying) dude who was tough to watch on screen for long stretches.

Then there was the whole Rey background/ origin story that ended up boiling down to something that didn’t matter at all. Her parents were kind of nobodies; there was nothing to see here. And then there was Supreme Leader Snoke, who showed up, didn’t do much, and then got killed.

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And don’t even get us started on the Finn and Rose tracking device side story. The ending paid off to some degree, but it didn’t undo the mess before it.

It all ended in Star Wars having to course-correct off the the Rian Johnson movie back into J.J. AbramsStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a few years later which retconned most of the previous movie. So there was that too. In all, Rian Johnson seemed to have a strong anti-Star Wars take to start and he should have stuck with it.

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