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Rian Johnson will take ‘Star Wars’ into an era of ‘creative independence’ with his new trilogy

Creature designer Neal Scanlan insists that ‘The Last Jedi’ director has already taken the franchise into a brave new world
Neal Scanlan talks Rian Johnson's solo Star Wars trilogy
[Image: Lucasfilm]

Last month’s announcement that Rian Johnson is going to direct his very own Star Wars trilogy confirmed two things.

The first is that Lucasfilm and its president Kathleen Kennedy are obviously very, very happy with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” while they also trust him to take the franchise into the future.  Johnson’s previous work on the likes of "Brick," "Brothers Bloom," and "Looper" suggests that he has the point of view and eye to do that in a fresh, new and exciting fashion.

During my conversation with Neal Scanlan, who oversees the creations of the creatures in “Star Wars,” and recently worked with Johnson on “The Last Jedi,” the special effects artist opened up about what audiences can expect to see from Johnson’s own trilogy.

“Rian has already started that process [of working on his films], and it is incredibly brave of him. So far we have been able to lean on and stand on the shoulders of George and all these amazing people.”

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“What Rian has done with ‘The Last Jedi’ is to take those first few steps of creative independence. At some point we have to take these beloved stories and stand on our own two feet. And I think Rian is the captain that can do that. He has already done that as far as I am concerned.”

“He certainly took those first tentative steps for us. Forcing us to think independently, and try to think of where we will be not yesterday but 5 years down the line. And I think that’s very important to the evolution and continuing success and love for this franchise.”

Johnson is only in the early stages of developing his “Star Wars” films, so much so that Scanlan admitted that he hasn’t been approached yet about what sort of creatures will populate his galaxy far, far away. But Scanlan did provide an update on the other “Star Wars” films he has been working on, admitting that he will start talking to J.J. Abrams about “Episode IX” just after Christmas.

“It’s great to hear that Rian will be going on this journey. It’s too far down the line yet. We have completed our work on the ‘Han Solo’ story and we’re now really preparing ourselves and getting ready and already talking to J.J. about ‘Episode IX.’ It’s just fantastic.”

“We’re about to have a short sabbatical to get reenergized and prepare for ‘Episode IX’. I imagine that before ‘IX’ is finished we will start to have those conversations. It’s an incredibly exciting time. I often hear rumors of my own that they are thinking of doing this and that. And it is just an incredibly creative environment at the moment, and I am just not surprised by anything at all.”

We’ll finally get to see just how much “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” surprises us when it is finally released on December 15. Meanwhile stick to Metro in the build-up to its release for further revelations from my discussions with Mark Hamill and Neal Scanlan.

 
 
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