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Star Wars Rian Johnson Trilogy Canceled?

Matt McGloin
Posted: 08/18/2018 - 07:46
Star Wars Rian Johnson Trilogy Canceled?

A month prior to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Disney announced that director Rian Johnson would be developing a new Trilogy; however, now there is question if it just might be canceled.

November of 2017 saw it announced that Rian Johnson would write and direct the first of a new Star Wars Trilogy described as: "separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Rian Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored."

Star Wars

Now following the poor reception of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, coupled with it also questioned if Kathleen Kennedy will be fired and the lukewarm reception of Han Solo, long time LucasFilm production designer, Neil Lamont, drops a potential bombshell in that the Rian Johnson Star Wars Trilogy might have either been placed on hold or been canceled (via Cinema Blend). Neil Lamont confirms that work on a spinoff - thought to be Obi-Wan Kenobi - has been seemingly placed on the backburner where he interestingly enough mentions "new galaxies."

We were just starting our work on another Star Wars spin-off and yeah. We were actually just making our mark on Tatooine -- which would have been interesting and some other new galaxies. So hopefully, if that comes back, we'll get the chance to be able to do that further.

To be clear, it is not known which movie Lamont is talking about, but it's possible that Neil Lamont could have been talking about both an Obi Wan Kenobi movie (which makes sense with mention of Tatooine, as it's speculated the Obi-Wan movie would have taken place after Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan isolated himself on Tatooine to watch over the young Luke Skywalker) and the Rian Johnson Star Wars Trilogy.

After all, would the Obi-Wan prequel introduce "new galaxies?" Yet the description for the Rian Johnson Star Wars Trilogy states (emphasis my own): "new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored."

Of course, it's very well possible that Neil Lamont could simply be talking about the Rian Johnson Star Wars Trilogy, which might have involved Tatooine, but then went to "a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored." Obi-Wan actor Ewan McGregor has even stated that no movie involving the character is in the works.

Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson

Worth a mention is that following Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which made considerably less at the box office than The Force Awakens, Star Wars at Disney seems to be in a disarray.

This past June saw it reported that Disney CEO Bob Iger had a sit down with the heads of LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel to get their Star Wars franchise right, and also that Iger wanted to fire and replace Kathleen Kennedy. It has actually been said that there are those within Disney that "hate" what Rian Johnson did with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which may in part be backed up by what Mark Hamill has said about disagreeing with Johnson's portrayal of Luke Skywalker (see below). In addition, Andy Serkis has publicly made it known that he hopes Snoke is still alive in Episode IX (see below), and legendary composer John Williams also chimed in that he hopes J.J. Abrams is fixing things in Episode IX as well (see below). It's still further been said there are those within Disney that aren't happy that Kennedy let Harrison Ford dictate his character's death in The Force Awakens as well.

There is also the fact that following James Gunn getting fired by Disney for tweets about rape and pedophilia, Rian Johnson proceeded to delete over 20,000 tweets.

A question on many fans' mind - and some sources state within Disney - is why isn't Dave Filoni more involved with the Star Wars movies following having done such stellar job on the animated series?

Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy

A majority of the problems look to lie on the shoulders of LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who back in 2016, made no hesitation in stating to the NY Times that, "I don’t feel that I have a responsibility to cater in some way. I would never just seize on saying, 'Well, this is a franchise that’s appealed primarily to men for many, many years, and therefore I owe men something.'" In essence, what Kennedy is stating is that she owes the long time Star Wars fans nothing, which explains a lot, and it's something the earlier report from June says Disney is not happy with, as the company realizes those fans are their bread and butter, the "engine."

Under Kathleen Kennedy, there have been numerous problems ranging from production problems with directors (Colin Trevorrow exited Episode IX because of disagreements with Rian Johnson's Episode VIII; Gareth Edwards getting replaced on Rogue One; Josh Trank fired from a spinoff; Phil Lord and Chris Miller getting fired from Han Solo and replaced by Ron Howard) to marketing to actors. Regarding Episode IX, the report from June also stated that Kathleen Kennedy is letting it all fall on the shoulders of J.J. Abrams, and that she has stepped back and has given him complete control. It's further been said Episode IX is "DOA," and that it is too late to do any course correction for the movie.

Currently, Star Wars: Episode IX is in development at Disney, which is now filming. Logan director James Mangold is also said to be developing a new Star Wars spinoff, thought to be Boba Fett, but Disney hasn't officially announced it. Jon Favreau is also developing a new Star Wars TV series for the upcoming Disney streaming app. 

It more or less seems the fate of the current Star Wars movie universe under Kathleen Kennedy rests on the shoulders of J.J. Abrams and the reception (both critical and fan) of Star Wars: Episode IX, which comes out December 2019.

Star Wars

Here are the comments from Andy Serkis, John Williams and Mark Hamill:

Andy Serkis

"It’s a great character, and I’d be keen," Serkis told THR in March about Snoke. "I know it frustrated a lot of people that Snoke came to such a sticky end so quickly, but I loved that big scene and the relationship between Daisy Ridley’s character and Snoke — and where it goes from there and what escalates from that moment, you know the fight that kicks off after that. So I really think it’s great in the movie, but yeah, I could quite happily — I’d be very happy to extend Snoke’s life for sure."

John Williams

"Rey's parents might be identified to us in the next film," Williams told kusc.org in March.

The interviewer then remarks, "I hope so."

Williams replied, "I hope so, too."

The interviewer also remarked that, "I assume they are pretty extraordinary. Somebody tried to tell her that they were anonymous people who died in the desert. I don't believe that."

"Yes. I don't believe it either," Williams said.

Star Wars: Episode IX also marks the last time John Williams will score a Star Wars movie.

Mark Hamill Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill

Regarding what Mark Hamill had to say on Luke Skywalker:

"I refuse to believe that he's gone," Hamill told the BBC back in March. "My theory is he just teleported to somewhere else and left his robe behind. He teleported to a nudist colony, that's what I'm hoping."

Mark Hamill also revealed that the epic original ending to Star Wars: The Force Awakens was changed to accommodate Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi:

"When we were doing [The Force Awakens], Rian said, 'We might have boulders floating to show your Force emanating', so I was led to believe that I still had the Force and it was really strong in me," Hamill said. "When I read [The Last Jedi] before [The Force Awakens] came out, I said 'what?!" and called JJ [Abrams] or Rian [Johnson] to say, 'Are you guys aware of this? Have you seen a cut? Is there floating boulders?' And they said, 'No, we caught that and we worked it all out.'"

He says he didn't agree with Rian Johnson's approach to Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

I said to Ryan, I said, "Jedi's don't give up. I mean even if he had a problem he would maybe take a year to try and regroup, but if he made a mistake he would try and right that wrong." So right there we had a fundamental difference, but it's not my story anymore. It's somebody else's story, and Ryan needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective. That's the crux of my problem. Luke would never say that. I'm sorry. Well in this version, see I'm talking about the George Lucas Star Wars. This is the next generation of Star Wars, so I almost has to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he is Jake Skywalker. He's not my Luke Skywalker, but I had to do what Ryan wanted me to do because it serves the story well, but listen, I still haven't accepted it completely. But it's only a movie. I hope people like it. I hope they don't get upset, and I came to really believe that Ryan was the exact man that they need for this job.

Mark Hamill says he agreed with Colin Trevorrow's approach to Luke Skywalker in Episode IX (Trevorrow was fired):

The changes in the directors have been hard for me because I admire Phil so much. I admire Chris so much. I admire Colin, and their body of work. But again, it's got to be real difficult to come to a meeting of minds on something this massive. I had discussions with Colin. I was very excited because we were on the same page in terms of where we wanted to go and how we wanted to see Luke in a way that we never seen him. Even in this current version. But I don't know what went on. I don't want to know because there is no upside to that story. I like all those people. I like Kathy, and I like Lawrence Kasdan and all the people involved in that decision, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. And they don't tell me anything [laughs].

Colin Trevorrow also cryptically tweeted out the following: