10:52am PT by Graeme McMillan
Rian Johnson Has No Plans to Direct 'Star Wars: Episode IX'
Perhaps speculation that Star Wars: The Last Jedi helmer Rian Johnson could step in to replace Colin Trevorrow on the untitled Episode IX follow-up was a little premature, with Johnson telling reporters that he will be "really excited to be an audience member again" after Dec. 15.
"It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it," Johnson said during a press conference in Japan when asked about the empty director's chair for the next movie in the saga. "For me, I was entirely focused on Episode VIII and having this experience. Now I’m just thinking about putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it. So no, I’m not really thinking about that right now."
He continued, "Whoever does it, I’m going to be really excited to be an audience member again, and to sit down and see what the next filmmaker has to show us and where this story ends up going."
Johnson's name had been mentioned by sources close to Lucasfilm as a potential candidate to direct Episode IX, which is still scheduled to begin shooting early next year. His Star Wars predecessor J.J. Abrams' name has also come up.
Trevorrow's exit from the third installment in Disney's relaunch trilogy for the fan-favorite franchise came early last week via a statement from Lucasfilm that described the split as being "mutually chosen," with the director of the poorly reviewed The Book of Henry being called "a wonderful collaborator" who simply didn't share the studio's vision for the project.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter last week that the working relationship between Trevorrow and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy had become unmanageable.