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Rian Johnson (almost definitely) rules himself out of directing Star Wars 9: "It was never... the plan"

Star Wars Episode 9 (opens in new tab) giveth, and Star Wars 9 taketh away. With the news of Colin Trevorrow departing the last movie in the new trilogy (opens in new tab), eyes turned towards who would replace him in the director’s chair. Rian Johnson, somewhat inevitably after his upcoming turn helming Star Wars: The Last Jedi (opens in new tab), appeared to be early favourite (opens in new tab)– but the man himself has pretty much dropped himself out of the running.

When asked about directing Star Wars 9 during a Japanese press conference (via io9 (opens in new tab)), Johnson was reticent about giving a concrete answer: “It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode 9, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it. For me, I was entirely focused on Episode 8 and having this experience and now I’m just thinking of putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it.”

Things became more clear-cut, though, as Johnson ended his answer with a telling remark about watching Star Wars 9 from another chair entirely, “Whoever does [direct Star Wars 9], 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.”

So, no back-to-back Star Wars movies for Rian Johnson? It sure looks like it. JJ Abrams has kept schtum so far, but it won’t be long before more questions will be asked of his involvement. Maybe it’s time for a fresh set of eyes to look over the final instalment (for now) of a galaxy far, far away.

For now, you can keep track of every upcoming Star Wars movie (opens in new tab) to your heart’s content, director-less or otherwise. But that’s not the only present: how about literal Star Wars gifts (opens in new tab) for someone special or, let's be honest, yourself. You can never have too many lightsabers.

Image: Lucasfilm

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.