Notes on News: The direction of the new Star Wars trilogies

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There has been a disturbance in the force… with the recent major announcement of Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss being signed on to write and produce a new series of Star Wars films, a galaxy far, far away is set to expand further than ever before. Things are proceeding as Kathleen Kennedy has foreseen…

It’s not only Benioff and Weiss who are getting their own intergalactic playpen, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson had previously been confirmed last autumn as helming a new trilogy of films as director. No extensive details regarding plot, characters or story have been revealed, nor has any information regarding production slates or release dates. However, as if that has ever really prevented the Internet from descending into rampant, and (as usual) aggressive, speculation. So what can we expect from Johnson, Benioff and Weiss? Which corners of the galaxy will they inhabit and what stories will they tell?

Rian Johnson’s trilogy

With a filmmaker like Rian Johnson, there seems to be a destined route for his new trilogy. Whilst his films will take place separately from the Skywalker saga, meaning new worlds and characters, it’s highly likely that his trilogy will continue on in the traditional Star Wars vein. What would this entail? Well, we should expect the Jedi to be involved, the iconic heroes of the Star Wars mythology are an absolute must for what will likely be the franchise’s spearhead trilogy after Episode IX. And where there are Jedi, there must be Sith. For the iconic heroes, you need iconic villains, the new films have done a great job at constructing Rey and Kylo Ren in these respective roles for a new era, and Johnson’s main task will likely be to not only capture this again, but to put his own spin on it.

Whilst these Star Wars traditions are expected, don’t anticipate Rian Johnson to play it safely. With The Last Jedi, Johnson took big, bold risks and experimented with the Star Wars formula in ways never before seen. With his own trilogy, Johnson has the chance to put his own unanimous and definitive spin on Star Wars, to create the Star Wars movies that are his own and not the bi-product of the work of George Lucas and J. J. Abrams before him. He has a clean slate, a vast playpen which he will be allowed to inhabit with any and every creature, character, planet, ship, weapon, costume, plot and story he can think of. Not since the original Star Wars has a director had this much free reign over the galaxy and never has it been this exciting. For Johnson, it’s 1977 all over again and the potential has never been higher. To those who doubt that Johnson can do it after the highly divisive The Last Jedi, I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Benioff and Weiss’ films

The curious case of Benioff and Weiss is an intriguing one. The showrunners of the undisputed TV juggernaut that is Game of Thrones will also be bringing us a series of films (unspecified yet as to the number of films) separate from the Skywalkers and Johnson’s new trilogy. From the bloody, dirty and dark world of Westeros, Benioff and Weiss make the jump to hyperspeed into the uncertain future of the Star Wars universe.

With writers like Benioff and Weiss, we should expect a different type of Star Wars film. Much like Rogue One, their’s will likely lean more into the political side of the universe; think less Jedi, more concern with the droid attack on the Wookies. The best parts of Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One where when it focused more on an Empire producing superweapons in the midst of their domination over the galaxy, and how a group of political insurgents had to work spec op missions off the radar to spark the downfall of the dictatorship. Whilst Rogue One was restrained by its chronology and inevitability, Benioff and Weiss can craft a similar beast, free from chains and not confined to a Rancor-like lair. Expect the unexpected, trust no one and keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, this should be the Benioff and Weiss approach to Star Wars. We don’t know yet whether or not they will venture into uncharted territory in the Star Wars mythology or who will be behind the camera to direct these scripts, but we do know that liberty will likely die with thunderous applause, as is the Benioff and Weiss way. I for one can’t wait for Star Wars: The Rains of Coruscant.

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The Edge's Film Editor 2017-2018, David has an unabashed love for all things Dave Grohl, Jack Black and Lord of the Rings. A compulsive liar who shouldn't be trusted, David once beat legendary actor David Hasselhoff in a hot dog eating contest and is best friends with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, they speak on the phone three times a week.

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