According to Deadline.com, Rian Johnson ("Looper") will direct "Star Wars: Episode VIII", replacing "Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams for the franchise's next installment. Deadline.com also reported that Johnson will take on the directing duties for "Episode IX," but that part of the story was countered by TheWrap, which noted that Johnson would only write a script treatment for the ninth "Star Wars" film.
HuffPost Entertainment contacted representatives for Johnson; this story will be updated if and when they respond on the record.
Johnson, who is very active on Twitter, posted a video from "The Right Stuff" shortly after the news broke. The scene includes the famous line, "Dear lord, please don't let me fuck up."
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 20, 2014
While Johnson didn't cite "Star Wars" by name in that tweet, he has discussed the beloved series in the past. During an interview in 2012 with HuffPost Entertainment, Johnson explained why he wished director George Lucas' original "Star Wars" film was more readily available than its special edition:
I mean, think about if we couldn't see the original 'King Kong' and see that original effects work because someone in the '50s had decided that that looked phony with the stop-motion and they've rotoscoped over it with a man in a suit. Imagine wanting to do effects and wanting to study the work of those guys, wanting to see how it was done then and literally not being able to. [...] It's film preservation, in my mind. And it's a pretty dire one. I guess we all kind of assume and hope that there's prints in a vault somewhere that will come out. I'm sure there are, but I don't know. And I don't know Lucas. I'm sure he's been asked about it. I'd be curious to hear his take on that, because he's been such a champion of film preservation. He came out against the colorization, so I know that his heart's in the right place about it.
Johnson is best known for his three feature films ("Looper," "The Brothers Bloom" and "Brick") and for directing multiple episodes of "Breaking Bad."
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is filming now. John Boyega, Lupita Nyong'o, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Andy Serkis, Daisy Ridley, Gwendoline Christie and original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will appear in the film. (Ford recently broke his leg on set and will miss the next eight weeks of production.) According to sources close to Johnson, Ram Bergman, producer on Johnson's previous three films, will join the "Star Wars" franchise in that capacity as well.
To check out the original report from Deadline.com, head here.