Just about every Star Wars fan has Dec. 18 circled on the calendar as the release date for J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, but what will happen after that? Well, there’s the mysterious standalone movie slated for Dec. 16, 2016. But then what?
Thanks to Disney’s annual shareholders report, we now know for sure that Star Wars: Episode VIII (directed by Rian Johnson) will be released in 2017 and Episode IX (probably also to be directed by Johnson) in 2019.
Celebrated indie director Rian Johnson – known for his time-travel action film Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as Brick – has been chosen by Disney to direct the next two Star Wars sequels, Episode XIII and IX. He will also script XIII and write at least a treatment for Episode IX if not the actual screenplay.
This move reinforces the trend of choosing bright young directors on the rise to rebuild Lucasfilm’s franchise, such as the previously announced Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fantastic Four), who will oversee so far unspecified spin-off movies.