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Rian Johnson Is Developing a New Universe for ‘Star Wars’

The ‘Last Jedi’ director will write and direct a new trilogy separate from the Skywalker saga, and Lucasfilm will produce a live-action TV series

Walt Disney Studios

The public has yet to see December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but Lucasfilm is confident enough in director Rian Johnson to let him manage the franchise moving forward.

The company announced on Thursday that Johnson will write and direct the first film of a new trilogy that will be “separate from the episodic Skywalker saga” and introduce new characters to the Star Wars lore. Per Variety, Lucasfilm will also work on a live-action Star Wars TV series to debut on Disney’s new streaming platform that will launch at the end of 2019.

“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

My gut reaction to this news is, admittedly, mixed. Johnson is an accomplished director—Looper was dope, and he directed some of Breaking Bad’s greatest episodes, including “Ozymandias.” He would certainly be a more creative force for the franchise than J.J. Abrams, who is the human equivalent of vanilla ice cream. But at some point, won’t we hit Star Wars fatigue?

After December’s The Last Jedi, we’re getting a new movie each year—Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018, Episode IX in 2019, and another spinoff in 2020—for the next three years. Beginning with 2015’s The Force Awakens, that’s six straight years of back-to-back Star Wars movies. The introduction of a new, Johnson-led trilogy is putting the Star Wars universe into Marvel territory (Marvel is another subsidiary of Disney). And yes, I didn’t forget about the Star Wars TV show.

I love Star Wars with all my heart; Revenge of the Sith was hot garbage, and I still went to the theater five times, General Grievous’ lung cancer PSA and Obi-Wan having the high ground be damned. I will probably line up every opening night to see whatever Johnson comes up with in the 2020s.

At some point, however, the charm of a galaxy far, far away could wear thin, and the fan base could turn on a talented auteur.