Star Wars is apparently a young man’s game.
According to a report by Deadline, Rian Johnson will join directors Josh Trank and Gareth Edwards in the Star Wars family, though his assignment is slightly more high-profile.
Johnson, according to the report is in advance talks to both write and direct Star Wars Episode VIII and Star Wars Episode IX. Johnson made waves in the indie world with Brick, before showing his scifi chops with Looper, which he both wrote and directed.
Of course, it’s all early. Star Wars Episode VII is filming now under the direction (and co-writing) of J.J. Abrams, despite a bit of a hiccup in one of the stars, Harrison Ford, being injured on set and out for several weeks with a broken leg or ankle, depending on whose reports you have read. That film is due in theaters December 18, 2015, and Lucasfilm/Disney has previously expressed the desire for new Episodes to hit theaters every two years, meaning Johnson’s first wouldn’t be due in theaters until at least the end of 2017.
This would be a sizable jump in profile for Johnson; while Looper was a critical hit and a success in theaters, grossing $176 million worldwide ($66 million domestic) on a modest $30 million budget, The last Star Wars movie in theaters, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith did $108 million in its opening weekend.
While Lucasfilm/Disney has yet to confirm, Johnson certainly poured some fuel on the proverbial speculation fire. Minutes after the news hit on Deadline, the writer/director tweeted a clip of The Right Stuff, in which astronaut Alan Sheppard utters a prayer: "Dear Lord, please don't let me f*** up." Variety has also added a report citing their own sources.