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Rian Johnson Talks Star Wars: Episode VIII, Drops A Holiday Special Reference

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JohnsonOne of the most exciting announcements of the post-Disney-buyout era of Star Wars was the news that Looper’s Rian Johnson would be writing and directing Episode VIII (and possibly Episode IX as well). Even if you’re one of the fans unhappy with the decision to let J.J. Abrams direct Episode VII, Johnson’s hiring is a compelling reason to get excited about a return to George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. During a recent podcast appearance, Johnson was unsurprisingly tight-lipped about his plans for the franchise — he told the audience, “I’m really excited about all the things I can’t tell you.” He did, however, talk about why he took the job and what he’s doing to prepare for it. Hint: it involves the movie Twelve O’Clock High.

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Lawrence Kasdan And Simon Kinberg Sign On For Star Wars Episodes VIII And IX

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Update: Well, that didn’t take long. The Hollywood Reporter is now saying that Kasdan and Kinberg’s deals are a lock.

With the announcement that Toy Story 3’s Michael Arndt is officially penning the next installment in the suddenly revivified Star Wars franchise, internet speculation has moved on to trying to figure out who’s going to be directing Episode VII. But to hell with that, director rumors are soooo last week. Instead let’s try to figure out who’s going to be writing Episodes VIII and IX. The first two names in the running? Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.

The names come from Deadline, and unsurprisingly there aren’t any sources named. Instead it’s just something that the Deadline people have purportedly heard coming out of the Disney camp. As with all the assorted Star Wars rumors, sprinkle a little salt on this one until we get an official announcement. All that butt-covering aside, Kasdan and Kinberg do make a certain amount of sense.

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It’s A Trilogy: Disney Confirms Eighth And Ninth Star Wars Films Also Planned

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At this rate my fingertips will be bleeding all over the typewriter before too much longer. We had barely finished posting the breaking story about Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, including the Star Wars franchise, before more news arrived by way of a conference call between Disney investors and Disney chair Bob Iger. Not only is Disney planning Star Wars VII for 2015 — they’re planning Episodes VIII and IX as well.

Our sister site, Cinema Blend, got the skinny on the conference call announcement, where Iger said that they will be releasing the next three Star Wars movies in two-year increments, meaning we’ll be getting new Star Wars throughout the back half of this decade, and a few years on into the next. And that’s assuming that they stop at Episode IX, which there is no real reason to think.

It’s still not clear what George Lucas’ role as “creative consultant” will entail, but it seems unlikely that he’d be directing the new films, or even be involved in the day-to-day running of the franchise. At this point, I think the guy has earned a retirement. While some GFR readers are already crying foul and weeping in our comments section over on Facebook, I’m regarding this as a tentatively positive development for two simple reasons: 1) I think the prequels, as well as Lucas’ refusal to release the original, unaltered Star Wars films on Blu-ray and DVD, showed that Lucas had lost touch with what elements of Star Wars made the fans fall in love with the movies in the first place. And 2), I really, really want to see a Star Wars movie made by a top-tier director like Christopher Nolan. Think of the way Nolan reinvigorated the floundering Batman franchise, and just imagine if he or some other talented person brought a new energy and excitement to a universe that left many fans stung and bitter in the wake of the prequels.