It’s hard to believe that The Last Jedi came out five years ago.
In the time since its release the film has sparked no shortage of conversation, but Lucasfilm made a definitive demonstration of their belief in the film and its director, Rian Johnson, by announcing a new trilogy from Johnson before the movie ever came out. That trilogy of films has been on the backburner ever since, such that there have been plenty of moments in which people were led to believe it was quietly cancelled.
But while we’ll have to wait and see whether it ever happens, one thing seems clear: both sides still hope to do it. Earlier this year, Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy said that Johnson has been very busy and that Star Wars requires a multi-year commitment, so it hasn’t worked out yet. She added that she has continued to meet with him and that he has become a part of their brain trust, committed to what they’re doing, but just without the time to direct.
Johnson, meanwhile, sings a similar tune. Asked recently by Empire about whether he’ll return to the Star Wars franchise, Johnson replied, “I’ve stayed close to Kathleen and we get together often and talk about it. It’s just at this point a matter of schedule and when it can happen. It would break my heart if I were finished, if I couldn’t get back in that sandbox at some point.”
Neither Kennedy’s comments nor Johnson’s gives any indication that this project is cancelled; to the contrary, both of them are quite clear that they’d like to do it but it comes down to timing. And Johnson is a very successful filmmaker who is in the midst of a budding Knives Out franchise, among other things, so it’s understandable why he wouldn’t have a several-year block to devote to the galaxy far, far away.
But I’m hoping it does eventually happen, as I’d love to see Johnson return to Star Wars. The Last Jedi was fantastic, and it’s encouraging that five years later Johnson is still proud of his work. In fact, he said he’s prouder than ever.
“I’m even more proud of it five years on,” he told Empire. “When I was up at bat, I really swung at the ball. I love it as a Star Wars movie. My intention from the start was to put everything I love about Star Wars into it. And, in a very meaningful way, try and dig into what Star Wars means to me, what Star Wars meant when I was a kid, what Star Wars meant now, through the whole journey I had, that I think a lot of us our age had.”