Deadline is reporting that Disney and Lucasfilm have offered the director and writer’s chair for Star Wars Episode VIII to Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed the recent time travel movie Looper, as well as high school noir Brick and several episodes of Breaking Bad. He is also to provide a story treatment for Episode IX.
If true, this would seem to line up to a rumor that Episode VII will chronicle the final adventures of the original Star Wars cast, with the remaining episodes jumping forward into a new story with the new cast.
While Looper had critics and movie audiences split over its logic issues and that ending, there’s no denying that Johnson has a gift for rich, inventive world-building. Fans of Breaking Bad will remember Johnson’s work from landmark episodes “Fly” and “Ozymandias,” which are practically studies in how to build onscreen tension before climactic moments.
No word yet from Disney or Abrams confirming this latest rumor. And while Johnson hasn’t confirmed Deadline’s report, either, he did tweet this video from “The Right Stuff” about an hour after the report went live: