Rian Johnson expanding 'Star Wars' for new trilogy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As “Star Wars” fans gear up for “The Last Jedi,” the anticipated next installment in the Skywalker series, its star and writer-director shed some light on how the franchise was mapping a future beyond the beloved characters.

FILE PHOTO: Director Rian Johnson poses for a portrait while promoting the movie "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

Rian Johnson, writer-director of “The Last Jedi,” will be overseeing a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films that will explore far-away corners of the galaxy, Walt Disney Co said in November.

“I‘m just in the very beginning phases of coming up with it so right now the sky is kind of the limit,” Johnson said while promoting “The Last Jedi” last week.

“The appeal of it to me is to do a new story told over three movies, to have that kind of canvas, to be in the Star Wars world and to have the feel of a Star Wars film,” he said.

The new stories will not follow the Skywalker saga, which George Lucas kicked off with 1977’s “Episode IV: A New Hope.”

Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, and rebooted the “Star Wars” franchise with the Skywalker trilogy and standalone films like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Johnson’s “The Last Jedi” picks up the Skywalker story after 2015’s blockbuster “The Force Awakens,” in which a new generation of characters was introduced with returning favorites Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Fisher died last year.

Reporting by Rollo Ross for Reuters TV; Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy

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