Deadline was the first to report that Disney and Lucasfilm have tapped Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to take over from J.J. Abrams on the next two Episodes. The Wrap countered, saying that while Johnson will write and direct Episode VIII, he only write a treatment for IX.
The Hollywood Reporter is also saying that Johnson is in talks. They agree with The Wrap on his IX only being a treatment. Variety’s writeup mentions only VIII.
We don’t consider any news fully confirmed until Lucasfilm weighs in, but four trade reports in such quick succession is a fairly good sign that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Johnson isn’t verified on twitter, but you may consider his last tweet telling.
In addition to Looper, Johnson’s directing credits include Brick, The Brothers Bloom and several episodes of Breaking Bad. Vulture has nice little overview, if you don’t mind some major Breaking Bad spoilers, and there’s also THR on why he’s a good choice for the job. Another must-read is Drew McWeeny’s take on the bigger picture.
Long answer: It’s on StarWars.com, and is reported by media outlets as such. The outlet will either source/link StarWars.com or have quotes from Lucasfilm people using their actual names.
For a recent example of an outlet actually breaking news with Lucasfilm’s blessing, let’s look at IGN’s original report of David Tennant in The Clone Wars. It has extensive quotes from Dave Filoni and a video clip – which was exclusive to them when the story broke. (StarWars.com later posted it as a preview of the episode.) So far, Lucasfilm hasn’t been doing this with Episode VII news – the Arndt item simply appeared on the site – perhaps because they know that everyone is going to write about it anyway. The Tennant news simply isn’t as big, and getting it onto a mainstream outlet gives it an extra boost that will reach casual fans (and people like Doctor Who fans) who aren’t regularly watching The Clone Wars. This is also probably why Del Rey gave Entertainment Weekly that Scoundrels exclusive EU fandom spent a day agonizing over back in March.
Other outlets writing about those stories does not confirm them, either. Words like ‘reports’ and ‘reportedly’ are basically just a journalistic way of saying ‘rumors.’ It might give them a little more weight – I tend to use the word ‘report’ if I think something is just a tad more plausible than things like, say, Vader rising from the dead. But in essence? They mean exactly the same thing: It’s not official yet, just things people or the media are saying. That doesn’t make them fact, no matter how many people run the story.
Because nothing is confirmed until Lucasfilm says it is. Lucasfilm and, now, Disney. Not Major Entertainment News Outlet #47 reporting off Major Entertainment News Outlet #86. And trust me, we are watching.
StarWars.com has released the second video featuring Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas talking about the new Star Wars films, Lucas’ role in them, and what they’re looking for in a director.
There’s some overlap with the first video in the beginning, Kennedy did mention “people she’s worked with in the past,” but didn’t bring up any names. “I think we have a unique opportunity to go after some incredibly talented people,” she says. “It’s not going to be people who don’t already have some affinity for Star Wars probably, it’s gonna be somebody who really appreciates what Star Wars meant to them and is excited to dive in and be a part of this. I think the thing that will be immediately apparent are the directors who walk into the room and say ‘I can’t wait to be a part of this.'”
“I think it’s going to be a pretty long list,” Kennedy concludes.
Tomorrow it’ll be a full week since the biggest Star Wars news since the mid-90’s dropped: Not only Disney buying Lucasfilm, but that they’d be making a new trilogy – the sequel trilogy and perhaps beyond.
And amid all the rumors and fan hopes? There’s not really all that much info that’s actually solid. So in order to help stem at least a little confusion, I’ve created a page to keep track of what we actually know about Episodes VII-IX so far. It’ll be updated as we get further information.
So when he said, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,” I was just gobsmacked. “What? Are you nuts?!” [Laughs] I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be — and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material.
Well, you can’t say they haven’t had practice keeping secrets!
Carrie’s reaction to the news breaking has so far been contained to, um, her dog. Harrison Ford is, I expect, looking into trips to Antarctica.
George Lucas to be “creative consultant” on franchise; Kathleen Kennedy will continue to lead company under Disney.
Offer is for 4.05 billion dollars – half in cash, half in Disney stock.
Star Wars: Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015 with more films in the future – “every 2 to 3 years.” New movies are in “early stage development.”
Parks, games and television ARE on the menu. Disney “really likes” the franchise’s potential on TV. Speculation: Live action series on ABC? Star Wars folks on Once Upon A Time? Eek!
Lucasfilm’s value is almost all on the Star Wars franchise. Shocking!
Indiana Jones has “encumbrances” due to Paramount, so I wouldn’t expect to hear anything solid quickly.
Here’s a video where George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy talk about the future of the movies:
Per the release employees will be remaining at their currently locations, so hopefully this is all great news for our friends at Lucasfilm. On the official blog, Pablo Hidalgo writes a bit about the winds of change; Steve Sansweet has weighed in as well, and J.W. Rinzler looks at the ‘history’ of Episodes VII-IX.