Disney announced Thursday that Rian Johnson will craft a new trilogy for the Star Wars universe, greatly expanding the director's command over the ever-expanding space saga created by George Lucas, the AP reports. The announcement, made by Disney chief Bob Iger on a call with investment analysts, constituted the most ambitious new foray into the Star Wars galaxy, moving well beyond the original nine-film framework imagined by Lucas. Disney also announced a live-action Star Wars series that will debut on its streaming service which is set to launch in 2019. The new films will be separate from the Skywalker saga. "Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored," Disney said in a statement.
That Johnson will preside over a new Star Wars trilogy altogether confirms his status as the franchise's new chief guardian. It's a considerable amount of trust to be placed in the 43-year-old director of 2012's Looper, even before audiences see his first Star Wars installment. "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," Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy said of Johnson. "Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy." Johnson will write and direct the first film in the trilogy, working with his producing partner Ram Bergman. "Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can't wait to continue with this new series of films," Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement.