So, yesterday, the Star Wars fan community was hit with a Rian Johnson-ton bomb. This was then followed up with a tactical television series strike. The internet boomed with fan reactions far and wide. I, for one, was taken off guard and blown away. All in a good way. So what happened? Let’s look.
StarWars.com announced that Rian Johnson, writer-director of next month’s The Last Jedi, will be writing a brand new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he will also be directing. Said the website, “…Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” So this new trilogy is breaking from the Skywalker saga, has new characters, and possibly explore previously unseen parts of the galaxy. Speaking of Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy said, “We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi. He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.” Let’s break this down.
I am beyond stoked to hear this. I love the Skywalker Saga, don’t get me wrong. But, being a huge Expanded Universe fan back in the day, I left that line of stories behind a long time ago. Heir to the Empire, The New Jedi Order, The Darth Bane Trilogy, these weren’t centered on a Skywalker at all. Sure, Luke and Leia were there for it, as well as Anakin and the Solo kids, but these stories covered the Star Wars Universe at large. This is one of the reasons I love Rogue One so much. It was part of the overall story, but it pretty much had none of the major characters, and when it did they were limited. It was Star Wars, but it was filling in the cracks in an awesome way. This new trilogy can only deepen and broaden this galaxy we love, and I can’t wait.
The timing of this is interesting and certainly seems strategic. I don’t say that to cheapen it. But Disney and Lucasfilm know that they’re doing. Ever since fans really got to know Rian Johnson at Celebration Orlando, and all the behind the scenes looks at Last Jedi, the anticipation for the upcoming film has swelled exponentially. Rian has quickly risen to the heights of fan idolization, and hope for the movie is higher than I’ve seen in a long time. Perhaps even more than The Force Awakens. I was sold on Rian when I saw him spend four hours greeting people at Celebration. He loves the fans because he’s a fan. That really connects with me, and it obviously connects with my fellow fans. Dropping this news now is only going to ramp up the hype for December. A smart move if you ask me.
As if this wasn’t enough, and it very well could have been, during a quarterly earnings call Bob Iger announced a live-action Star Wars TV series which will air on the Disney streaming service which is expected to launch in 2019. He continued the great news by also saying he expects the service will be priced “well below” the $10.99 of Netflix due to having far less content. THAT is awesome, sign me up. We’ve all heard of the TV series that George Lucas and Rick McCallum were developing years ago. Rumors have abounded since the Disney purchase five years ago that another would come along. With the news that Disney would be starting they’re own streaming service, this was likely inevitable. The content is flowing, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.
Closing thoughts: I think this is great. I was worried about how often they would drop trilogies over the years. There was more than a decade between the three we have. The anthology films make sense since they can stand on their own, but a new installment of the Skywalker saga every few years would be a bit much. But, now that Lucasfilm and Disney are looking to branch out in that galaxy far far away, we can expect this universe to grow, and I truly think it will in a good way. I’m on board. All of this makes me think of a certain quote by a Naboo politician: “A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.”