Even though everyone has been talking about it, and the writer/director is very open about it, the fact that Rian Johnson is doing Star Wars Episode VIII still hasn’t been officially announced by Lucasfilm or Disney.
No one knows why the announcement hasn’t been made, and there are some interesting theories flying around as to why not, one of which says that Disney squashed it out of fear that people would see JJ not directing Episode VIII as a sign of no confidence in VII. For what it’s worth, rumor says Lucasfilm was going to announce it on StarWars.com, but it was pulled at the last minute.
Whatever the truth is, right now it’s the most openly discussed thing related to Star Wars that Lucasfilm has yet to officially confirm.
Rian Johnson was recently on a podcast with Terry Gilliam, and they got to discussion Episode VIII. The Playlist has compiled some of the best quotes from it:
Gilliam asks if Lucas is â€œlooking over his shoulder,â€ but Johnson reminds the older director that Lucas sold Lucasfilm and is no longer directly involved. â€œAre you free?,â€ Gilliam asks, inquiring about Johnsonâ€™s obligations to the â€œStar Warsâ€ franchise but perhaps also asking how much creative freedom heâ€™ll retain. â€œIâ€™m figuring it out as I go,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m dancing on top of the avalanche a little bit. But itâ€™s a challenge of remembering what inspires you about [the original films], but I think you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it. You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about.â€
Gilliam wonders about the obligations and the responsibility one has to such an iconic franchise and Johnson suggests that the environment as such is fairly easy. â€œWell, thatâ€™s been the great thing about it â€”Kathleen and her whole creative team have been so insistent on all the filmmakers theyâ€™ve been hiring for these new movies: â€˜We want you to take it and turn it into something that you really care about.â€™ And weâ€™ll see how the process plays out, but so far, thatâ€™s a big part of the reason Iâ€™m [doing the film]. Because that just seems like their attitude towards it. Itâ€™s really exciting actually.â€
You can listen to the entire exchange, including what Rian Johnson says about bringing back Frank Oz, via the embed below: