July 29, 2014 11:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Director Rian Johnson Talks Prep and Fake Plans
His first installment won’t be released for years, but director Rian Johnson is already talking about his involvement with Disney’s Star Wars franchise, as both director of Episode VIII and developer of Episode IX.
Being interviewed for the 500th episode of movie podcast Filmspotting, the director joked that he had been hired by Lucasfilm to guide the franchise post-Episode VII by mistake. “I can only assume it was a clerical error, like in the movie Brazil,” he said (as quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times, present at taping). “There’s a Brian Johnson out there who is really mad.”
He teased that he was “really excited about all the things I can’t tell you” about what’s to come in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, but did admit that he and his team are preparing by watching movies nightly as inspiration; the last two screened pre-taping were Twelve O’Clock High and Letter Never Sent, he said, in what was either a hint of things to come or impressive attempt to troll the Internet and expand the audience base of Mikhail Kalatozov movies.
“With these films, I am trying to harken back to the original Star Wars… Christmas Special,” Johnson added, saying that he does “have Jefferson Starship” lined up for Episode VIII.
More seriously, Johnson admitted a love for the much-maligned prequel trilogy (There “was something really beautiful” about them, apparently), and suggested that his preferred viewing order for the movies was their original release order. “I would do [Episodes] 4-6 then 1-3,” he told the audience, explaining that “storytelling-wise, 4-6 were constructed without the knowledge of the past.”
The 500th episode of Filmspotting, featuring the complete Johnson interview, will be released this weekend. Star Wars Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams and launching the new story sequence Johnson will inherit, will be released December 2015.