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Rian Johnson explains value of 'stepping outside' Star Wars bounds

By Jacob Oller
The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson has been on the hook for a Star Wars trilogy all his own since changing the game with his iconoclastic take on the series. He’s dropped a few hints here and there about his approach to the future, but the here-and-now Skywalker Saga has been a more pressing issue for fans. Now, with the filmmaker doing a press tour for his upcoming film Knives Out during the same few months that Lucasfilm fans must simply salivate and speculate about The Rise of Skywalker, it sounds like he’s maintained the rebellious and innovative spirit in the development of his entries to the legendary sci-fi franchise.

In previous interviews, Johnson has expressed an interest in moving forward with the series “beyond the legacy characters.” Speaking with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the premiere episode of the podcast Creative Processing, the filmmaker seems to have maintained this ethos for his approach.

After discussing the personal touches that he was able to include in his entry into the established canon, Johnson turned to creating something new — be it in The Last Jedi or his upcoming in-development trilogy. "I think the instant you start thinking in terms of how do you not step outside of the bounds of what the original movies did,” Johnson said, “you're not thinking the way the people who made the original movies did.” 

“They were, with every movie, they were pushing it forward. With every movie, they were stepping outside those bounds and pushing the characters into new, emotionally honest, but surprising places. That's why those movies are great. That's why they're alive. And if they had then been looking at something that came before it and saying, 'Oh, we better not do this because that is outside of this or that,' it would've been different."

Much of this could be applied to how the filmmaker turned convention on its head for some of the most shocking moments of The Last Jedi, but also how his new trilogy could lay the groundwork for new beloved characters that speak to the heart of Star Wars without being confined by the legacy characters, storylines, and worlds. It’ll probably be diametrically opposed to all the stuff Solo did, basically.

Rian Johnson’s trilogy will launch sometime after The Rise of Skywalker closes out the Star Wars saga fans have known since the beginning on Dec. 20.