Looper’s Rian Johnson To Direct Star Wars Episode VIII

BREAKING: Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness producer/director JJ Abrams is currently shooting the next Star Wars movie, but it appears he will not be shooting the one after that. Reports are coming out today that Looper director Rian Johnson is in talks to helm Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood are reporting (and the LA Times confirms) that Disney and Lucasfilm are currently in talks with Rian Johnson to direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, the follow-up film to JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. Both also report that he will write Episode VIII. THR is also reporting that he is also writing the treatment for Episode IX, contradicting Deadline’s report that he is also in talks to direct Episode IX.

Tweet from Abrams from set of Star Wars: Episode VII earlier this month

At age 40, Johnson has only directed three features – 2005’s award winning indie noir Brick, 2008’s caper-comedy Brothers Bloom and 2012’s Looper, a time-travel film starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That film had only a $30m budget, but grossed over $176m.

Johnson on the set of ‘Looper’ with Gordon-Levitt

No word yet on if Abrams or his Bad Robot production company will have any involvement with either Episode VIII or IX. Disney will be releasing Episode VII in December 2015. Episode VIII is expected in 2017. As reported earlier this week, the next Star Trek film will be released in-between those two, in 2016. Abrams will be producing the Trek film, with writer Bob Orci in the director’s chair. At the very least this news means that if Abrams doesn’t take on another directing job immediately following Episode VII, he may have more time available…some of which could be devoted to the third film in his trilogy of Star Trek productions.


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Great news. Hopefully, Johnson will fix in VIII everything JJ will break in VII.

Oh look. An anti-Abrams crack right off the bat. *eyes glaze over*

It’s not an anti-Abrams, it is a pro-Johnson.

I got the impression from the outset that there would be different teams on all the movies. Disney knows the Marvel model has worked well on those films, with most directors (Favreau excepted) being one-off journeymen.

With a cash cow like Star Wars, the executives will want to keep overall control without one team becoming too powerful. Giving ‘auteurs’ a good deal of freedom on one movie is fine, as they can shift requirements for the next movie’s team. There’s no reason to think JJ won’t be back at some stage, but Disney need the franchise to be bigger than any one creative team if it’s to survive.

What a horrible choice. Looper was a piece of dogsh*t. This guy can’t direct traffic.

(and I usually love time travel movies)

Hollywood ALWAYS gets it wrong.

Just a few musings:

I’m just wondering if the JJ Abrams sticky-note is supposed to be funny / ironic since it’s obviously a photo. In fact, the circular background is Millennium Falconesque.

There are mainstream reports about the injury that Harrison Ford sustained and, if memory serves, that was because a prop door hit him in the leg. Initially it was said that he had injured his ankle, but now it’s reported that he had broken his leg. Anyone know if the prop door was attached to the Millennium Falcon?

Second, if Mr. Abrams has more time on his hands for ST after the SW sequel is finished, would this mean that he would help Mr. Orci in his directorial duties? One could only speculate, since the former still has his producer duties to do.

Third, TrekMovie seems to be making up for lost time — new articles every day. Kudos!

If Abrams has more time after SW7 come out, then perhaps Paramount should delay ST3 to 2017 & hires Abrams to finish his Star Trek trilogy!

The door of the millennium falcon has broken Harrison Ford’s left leg:


Thanks, Cygnus-X1, for the information about the Millennium Falcon and its unfortunate role in interfering with the production of SW7. Best wishes, naturally, to Mr. Ford.

#6- The picture with the sticky is definitely ironic, especially since it’s stuck to the circular chess board from the Falcon.

Change the name to TrekWarsMovies.com and give us news on both!

@Vger23, 10,

Thanks for that response. It looks like JJ’s sense of mischief and whimsy knows not the boundaries of SF universes.

So, if we can see an R2D2 in ST(2009), what can we expect to see in SW7? (By the way, does SW7 have a title yet?) Perhaps a Borg in an alien scene? A Constitution-class vessel in a massed fleet? The mind boggles!

Of course, there is the ultimate question: Could JJ even strong-arm a featurette in which major characters from both universes cross over? It could be a Blu-ray special, or a short. Wouldn’t that be fun? If anyone could do it, it would be the director of two major movies in the top two Star franchises in the world.

dayum they already have a director for EIGHT?

what the heck is wrong with Paramount … why do they drag their feet so. Glad they finally made Orci official, ’bout flippin’ time.

6, Rick, yep, it was the door of the Millenium Falcon.

Han should have listened to Leia. Didn’t she tell him it was a bucket of bolts?

@ 13. Marja – June 20, 2014

“what the heck is wrong with Paramount … why do they drag their feet so. Glad they finally made Orci official, ’bout flippin’ time.”

Where you read that ? I didn’t read any official press release from Paramount confirming that yet.

@Harry: You’re a joke mate. Have you seen The Brothers Bloom or Brick? Rian Johnson can direct his a** off. He’s outstanding. Reading your posts on this site over the past few years is nauseating.

Just bring back the regular ‘movie news’ roundup article and be done with it. I miss those, as they were a good comprehensive catch-up on everything.

By the way, I approve of different directors getting a crack at the SW chapters. If only George had only directed the fourth instalment, and left the prequels to others…

I think the reason for Abrams not directing the sequel is because, if memory serves, he gave an interview where he promised his family that he would take a year off from his work, and that doing SW is what resulted in him making that promise. It could also mean that he wants to work on other projects outside of the movies; maybe some television shows, too.


Don’t try being clever, JP. It doesn’t suit you.

I didn’t see Looper. But I did see Brick, and a high school film noir just doesn’t work, except as a parody, which Brick was not trying to be.

However, Brick was very inventive, and I came away from the movie thinking that Rian was a directorial talent to keep an eye on.

The most interesting thing about this story is that JJ is out before what he made has even been released. I wonder what’s up there?

@20. dmduncan

“The most interesting thing about this story is that JJ is out before what he made has even been released. I wonder what’s up there?”

I guess that we will find out in the coming days or weeks. But I think that it has something to do with the fact that Abrams didn’t want to be away from his family & move to London to shoot the new SW movie.

Also the fact that Disney is not giving him the same amount of freedom & authority as it was the case with Paramount. He wanted to shoot the movie in LA & they said no, he also wanted to delay the movie to 2016 & they said no again.

I think JJ will do wonders for Star Wars, if not it will haunt him forever, so I think he’s taking proper precautions to make sure this comes out bad ass due to his love of Star Wars.

Im more occupied with what path the 14th Star Trek movie will take, will CBS make a new series, and will DS9 get the HD treatment.

When it comes to ST and SW Im not loyal to any director or actor playing Kirk or Spock just make them…

Since these films, unlike the OT and PT, are released 2 years apart instead of 3. I think it would be very tough for JJ to finish up production on episode 7 and launch straight into Episode 8.

But thats just speculation on my part. Maybe we’ll find out sometime what the deal is.

I find it laughable that anyone could be worried about JJ and Star Wars. They guy is made to do Star Wars. And what could there possible be to fear after Episodes I, II and III. It can ONLY go up from there.

@3. Yeah, it was anti-Abrams. Pro Abrams would have been ‘JJ fixes everything George Lucas f**ked up in episodes 1, 2, and 3, and the remastered 4, 5 and 6’. See the difference?

I’ve never seen a film as anticipated as Episode VII including the first SW prequel.

It isn’t just fanboy sites posting Star Wars stories on a daily basis, the slightest bit of Star Wars news + the mainstream media (who usually never comment on upcoming films) is all over it.

This film is going to be a monster at the box office.

I saw “Looper” several times. It’s great.

And I agree, the bit about J.J. Abrams not wanting to direct Episodes VIII and XV is weird. Oh well.

Arams does like to seem to hop around. He could of had his year off whilst episode XIII and XI are being written and shot them back to back.

Want to see great directing?

Watch Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman.

It was directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Superb, as compared to your paint-by-numbers horsesh*t action movies.

That’s Nice,

Trek is what i am interested of, Not Star Wars,

But thanks for the News!

Actually, I wish Paramount would take a multi-production team approach to Star Trek. Rather than drag out a ‘starting the voyage’ plot line across a decade, waiting for a ‘supreme court’ to get around to it, I’d like to see a Trek movie with the ‘nu-Trek’ cast every two years that follows a light story arc and a spin-off every other year, say Bruce Greenwood’s Pike before ST09 or Tom Hardy as Jean-Luc Picard on the Stargazer.

Disney are breaking new ground with their handling of franchises with Warner following on their coattails. Paramount lost the Marvel films and seem incapable of handling what they do have. In five years, they’ve managed to get nu-Trek as far as starting the five-year mission through two films and Mission: Impossible has basically had four films in 20 years, few of which have much to do with the series on which they’re based.

Paramount are falling behind and, frankly becoming a duff studio along the lines of MGM whose troubles have for years dogged the James Bond series. Blofeld? Pish! MGM is Bond’s greatest foe!

#32. Dom – June 21, 2014

While historically what you describe holds true for Paramount, we have to be aware that in 2006 the company that controls Trek’s film franchise is not the same one as the Paramount prior. It is actually a new entity that is Paramount in name only. The Paramount with the history of being Trek’s worst “enemy” was actually just renamed CBS in that year.

nuParamount is actually green and making mistakes too but mostly of the type of pretending that it is this sage old institution responsible for all these successes in the old film library that Redstone handed over to it when it was not.

This is why the two PARAMOUNTS bang heads. Moonves not too unrealistically had expected to be the head of a Paramount Entertainment empire when an ambitious executive on the same executive tier as him made a play for wresting it from him. The two constant jockeying and bickering to earn the right to control Paramount somehow caused Redstone to come up with the “briliant” idea to create two Paramounts and set the two qualified execs at each other’s throats in an arena that he envisioned would generate more profits.

The odd thing is that Moonves’ challenger got bumped out so fast in setting this all up that it is a bit of a mystery why Redstone stayed the course in creating nuParamount instead of just rewarding Moonves’ his spoils?

Regardless, the situation as it now stands is the two heads of each organization in this arena each believes they are the true heir apparent to the one true Paramount Entertainment Empire and has as their goal to amass as much wealth and power in each’s own institution so as to be able to force the other to fold into the other via a hostile takeover thus reforming what was rightly their’s all along, and giving each the right to show the other door

It appears that JJ’s greatest legacy is filtering the high IQs from the low ones.

And already the hater’s overly exaggerated egos are saying, “Yeah, we the smart ones, baby!!!” when they are NOT the ones I am referring to.

33. Disinvited

Yeah, I remember the shenanigans surrounding the Viacom split. A total mess. Just as the Bond films have a history of fighting a duff studio, so Trek has two owners who are butting heads.

Imagine CBS did decide to make a new Star Trek TV show: immediately, Paramount would likely launch a legal action over the impact it could have on their film franchise. When Rick Berman’s Trek shows outstayed their welcome, they effectively tanked the film series too (notwithstanding the TNG films were rubbish and disrespected the TV show they came from!)

Paramount wouldn’t like a rival Trek running that could tank nu-Trek, so the compromise would logically be to use the team behind the nu-Trek films to make the TV show. But that would lead to the two owners working together, which is highly unlikely.

So, IMHO, they need to look at how Star Wars and Marvel are being running and apply some of that nous to the Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises.

The “Star Wars” and MARVEL movies generate far more revenue worldwide, and are much more popular than Trek is at the moment.

That is why Disney can do what it does with its properties while Paramount can only manage to produce only one Trek movie every several years, and “Mission :Impossible” and “Jack Ryan” films every six-eight years on average.

Plus I get the sense Paramount is about ready to re-boot the Trek movie series after the third one with cheaper movies with new actors who are relative unknowns.

The rift with CBS isn’t helping matters either. But I doubt the two companies will ever be re-joined, so it looks like Trek will become a B- or C-list franchise for the foreseeable future while Disney expands its own “Star Wars” and MARVEL empires and aquires new film and tv franchises.

Hi Red Dead Ryan: ‘The “Star Wars” and MARVEL movies generate far more revenue worldwide, and are much more popular than Trek is at the moment.’

Remember though that Iron Man was a risky prospect for Marvel at the time. Iron Man was on their B-List back then and Robert Downey Jr was better know for his offscreen problems. The confident delivery of that film and the underrated The Incredible Hulk led to the two-a-year film series we now know.

Paramount had a big success with ST09, but let all the momentum die by not following it up more quickly. I agree with the possibility there’ll be a proper reboot next time. Probably not a bad thing. I have to wonder if they’ll take the Marvel/Star Wars approach then, though. I suspect that’s the way of the future.

A pity they can’t take a leaf out of the Marvel book and make a ‘One Shot’ short film to add to the film package on Blu-ray (the Agent Carter one was very good!) I’d love a short where Shatner’s Kirk emerges from the Nexus on New Vulcan and goes to find Spock.

Unless there is a “Secret Contract” between Par and J.J i believe so too.

But i don’t think for a Second Star Trek will become a second rate Franchise. Its a Different game, Star Trek has become one of Paramount’s biggest Summer Tentpole Movies.

Granted its not Marvel or Star Wars. Its got a new Fanbase, (count me in), the Home Video Market sells by millions of Dollars, the Fan Series are becoming more and more popular.

Its more than insuring that Star Trek is a viable Franchise!

Interesting SW news… (scratches head) =P

Impressive UFO Over Kentucky:



…especially the second one! ;-)

Disney is all about quality… =)

JJ’s “qualities” are questionable, IMHO… ;-)

I noticed that for the first time in several days, there hasn’t been a new article posted on TrekMovie.com. Given the recent spate of new contributions, that’s not particularly concerning. However, I just wanted to remind readers how much fun it was when this site was at full blast. It covered a wide range of topics — not just Star Trek, but other SF franchises, and even real-life science.

For example, take a gander at a story from August 10, 2010 — a little less than four years ago:


Those were the days! Sometimes I find that I hardly recognize my own postings from articles so far back.

I believe Mr. Okuda participated significantly, as did Mr. Drexler, on this site. (I could be mistaken — it’s been almost four years!) Then of course, Bob Orci and many others.

Anyway, thanks to the TrekMovie staff for all their efforts. Hope this site continues to LL&P.

35. Dom – June 21, 2014

Paramount wouldn’t like a rival Trek running that could tank nu-Trek, so the compromise would logically be to use the team behind the nu-Trek films to make the TV show.

Oh, God, PLEASE don’t put the BR Trek people in charge of a Trek TV show! PLEEEEASE, CBS, I’m begging you!!

As for Disney milking its franchises more, let’s not forget that the Marvel movies are pretty lame on the whole. They’re just popcorn-munching action movies that you forget as soon as you walk out of the theater. At least, I do. My friends and I generally watch those movies under the influence of two drugs—one of which is legal in every State, and one of which is legal only in a couple of States at present—in order to enhance the experience, as there’s never any danger of us missing any deeper levels to the stories due to our mental faculties being somewhat impaired and retarded by the drugs.

The first Iron Man I enjoyed watching at home, but that’s the high-water mark. Granted, they’re comic-book movies, and the source material was mostly pulp anyway. So, these movies being big-dumb-action movies are not some travesty or affront to the comics. But, that sort of treatment is not appropriate for Trek. To do that to Trek is a travesty and affront to its original spirit, values and sensibilities.

So, I’ll take quality over quantity in Trek, please. There’s already a plethora of Trek to watch in the meantime (I’m currently re-watching DS9), and we’ve got the fan films becoming increasingly more sophisticated, enjoyable and frequently released. I’d rather wait 5 years for one GREAT Trek movie than get a BR Trek movie every year.

Wait, did I get redirected to WarsMovie.com!?!

Just kidding. I appreciate the updates. As a fan of both universes, it’s nice to be able to get updates on both from one site.

Agreed Cygnus :)

Not all Marvels are totally Crap – most of them yes – Xmen is good though.

But yes, they are utterly forgettable. That’s why they keep using Great Actors like Robert Redford and R.D. Junior cause they re just Special Effects!

I just watched Looper last week, and thought “Is that IT?”

Very little imagination or innovation. Oooh, time travel and Bruce Willis sleeping through another role for a cool mil. The kid did a decent job pretending to blow things up..

Why has JJ already been kicked off the job? I guess it’ll be his turn now to do a “serious” film.

The best “Star Wars” film was directed by the guy who did “Robocop 2,” Irwin Kershner, so I guess anyone can have a shot.

AJ, Kirshner made Robocop 2 after Star Wars.

Hi Cygnus.

I think the problem is that Star Trek fans tend to see Star Trek as something special among franchises, something that requires different treatment from all the others. Truth is, much as I love Star Trek, that it’s a middling performing franchise that doesn’t perform particularly well outside of America.

And really, is there any more ‘depth’ to the average Star Trek movie than Iron Man 3, DC’s The Dark Knight, Fox’s The Wolverine, or Sony’s Spider-Man films? Not really. Star Trek’s origins prior to the TV show lie with pulp golden age science fiction and the populist entertainment of William Shakespeare (given Star Trek is effectively ‘Forbidden Planet: The Series!’)

Star Trek has a lot of drawbacks when it comes to engaging with the global public.

Star Trek and, especially, Rick Berman’s shows also all have a tendency towards self-righteousness. Even while TOS was about learning, sometimes the allegorical mask would slip and it would preach. TNG and its bedfellows basically threw the writer/producers’ opinions in our faces. When the allegory slips, inevitably half your viewership will be alienated because they’ll beg to differ. As Roberto Orci said a while back, it’s the discussion of views that’s important, which is why the Kirk, Spock, McCoy (warrior, priest, doctor) archetypes were so perfect.

Star Trek can take itself too seriously, with writers and producers thinking it’s about changing the world rather the ‘backsides on seats’ entertainment. Unfortunately a section of the fans follow suit.

And in the case of Star Wars, Trek fans tend to look down at Wars fans as a bit dim, when, actually, a lot of Star Wars is more literate and intelligent than Star Trek. Star Wars is immersed in Campbell’s theories, classic literature, and cinema. Even the cartoons are full of references to classical literature. Trek fans don’t want a well-made cartoon series, though, because they think cartoons are for stupid people. I’d love an animated Trek show,

Effectively, because Trek is not even a distant second to Star Wars and a number of other franchises, the old excuse of ‘those films are rubbish and the plebs who watch them are stupid’ gets used. Basically, a lot of Trek fans are being pretentious.

Humour is difficult in Star Trek. It takes good acting and writing to be funny without pulling the audience out of the show or film. The original cast were brilliantly funny and mostly hit the right note. There were moments in STV and STVI, though, that were just embarrassing. Because of its weird pretensions, humour in TNG-ENT was mostly excruciating, like watching a a very dull stoic classmate making pratfalls and messing up the punchlines. The only two who could really be funny in those shows were Patrick Stewart (a stalwart of another, much more successful film series) and Brent Spiner.

End of the day, from my point of view, Star Trek needs to be energetically marketed. If we’re not going to get a TV show any time soon, then I’d like to see more frequent films from more creators. If one team doesn’t entirely hit the nail on the head one year, another team might well the next.

At the end of the day, it’s about what it’s worth waiting for. Was STID worth four years’ wait? Not to me, I’m afraid. Had it it shown up a year or two after the first film, then fine. After a four-year wait, I had bigger expectations that could probably reasonably be met, even though I still enjoyed the film.

I thoroughly enjoy the Marvel films with their six-monthly delivery schedule. Most ordinary people who went to see STID, who aren’t heavily invested uber-fans, are probably the same sort of people who tend to see Marvel films. I can pretty much guarantee, even if they enjoyed any of the last several years’ Trek films, the films had no more impact on them than Captain America: The First Avenger or Thor.

We’re in the era of Netflix and Amazon Prime now. Cinema is no longer the ‘gold standard’ for the visual medium. It’s not a demerit if Star Trek and Mission: Impossible follow the direction of these other franchises: it’s common sense survival.

At the end of the day, maybe the Trek intelligentsia might think I’m a stupid person, but I never really had much time for academics anyway! ;)

@Dom, 47,

Thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts. I agree with some of your opinions, and disagree with many others.

I, too, like both franchises, but I would like to highlight some of the flaws in the SW universe as they’ve been presented in the movies in a manner similar to the way you’ve presented them regarding Trek. I do this (briefly), because I think the criticisms of SW as somewhat juvenile are more accurate than it may seem. I agree, first of all, that SW is an embodiment of the Hero’s Journey, a mythos that has animated storytelling since the dawn of literature because of its power and truth. The original SW (1977), in particular, did this in an operatic and moving style, and established the fundamental premise for much of the entire series. However, I would argue that SW, particularly as it has developed, appeals to more simplistic ideas of good and evil in part because of this premise. Empires fall because Goliath fell to David — “The End.” Even more importantly, SW falls back on mysticism and fantasy, which is inherently more susceptible to oversimplification for the sake of effect. “A wizard did it” — literally. It doesn’t take much for such a genre to fall into obscurantism, on one hand, and pure child-like wish-fulfillment, on the other.

I point to this as only one reason that SW strikes many as less sophisticated than ST. It’s not a matter of pretension, in other words. It’s rooted in a difference in appreciation for the values of literature as commentary on the human condition. ST fans are no more pretentious than SW fans, and so I would respectfully disagree with your conclusions on that score. Granted — some ST productions are indeed pretentious from a certain standpoint, but the ST universe, I would say, presents a different and less black-and-white view of good and evil, and therefore requires a more adult appreciation for its premise.

This is where you and I would find agreement. ST is not as appealing to the masses, particularly globally, in part because of its premises. Precisely why, and the reasoning behind this, is where you and I would differ.

I would also offer that your observation that ST is more demanding of a common cultural background than SW has more than a tinge of truth to it.

I wish I had the time to elaborate on some of these points and many others. This is again, just a sketch of a part of my response to your thoughtful posting. I thought it deserved at least such a reply, and in fact more. As you would agree, these things are often a matter of opinion in any event.

“Original” Star Trek should be licensed to Netflix… make it so!! PLEASE!!!

I just think of the stand alone films as well. Ep VII in 2015, Star Wars stand alone 2016, Ep VIII 2017. This along with 2016 Star Trek its fantastic for sci fi fans in general, I’m going to love it. But speaking strictly as a Trek fan, I think of all this competition is going to hurt trek a bit, especially if you have three Star Wars films spanning three years.

I love both franchises but I adore Star Trek. What can be more fascinating that the (theoretical) future of us on Earth.

I also have a concern with the 2016 Star Trek movie spearheaded by two mormons and a person with an insatiable interest in conspiracy theories. Granted The Undiscovered Country was fantastic because of its conspiracy story, I still think its the strongest, richest Star Trek movie to date (TWOK is overrated). As with anything, I believe in giving it a chance, letting the work speak for itself, and judging it like any critic once the task is complete. I hope there are no religious influences or conspiracy influences and is rather influenced by its past, of boldly going where no one has gone before, for peaceful scientific exploration.