Breaking: Is J.J. Abrams out of Star Wars?

While Star Wars: Episode VII is still busy filming at Pinewood Studios in England, Lucasfilm and its corporate parent, Disney, have been pushing forward on preproduction work on Episodes VIII and IX – a matter of terrible necessity, given that Disney has only given the crew two years to make each film.

To write and direct these next two installments, it seems the houses that Uncles George and Walt built have opted to jettison J.J. Abrams in favor of Rian Johnson, the director of Looper (2012) and several episodes of Breaking Bad.

Deadline was the first to report on the move, although the details it has are slim. “I don’t know too much more at this point,” the site’s Mike Fleming, Jr. writes, “but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicle’s Josh Trank and Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards.”

It would seem that Ram Bergman, one of Johnson’s collaborators, will jump aboard the two sequels as producer.

Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently expected to hit theaters in May 2017.

Stay tuned to Dork Side of the Force for continuing breaking news and our signature analysis of it.

 

J.J. Abrams is the writer, director, and producer of the still-untitled Star Wars: Episode VII, which is due to open on December 18, 2015. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker and newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Max von Sydow, Adam Driver, and Andy Serkis.