Holy fuck, chewers.

Per Deadline:

“I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground and is right now helming Episode VII. I don’t know too much more at this point, but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicles Josh Trank and Godzillas Gareth Edwards.

Johnson will take over the core film franchise, and he’ll get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile. Johnson made his directing debut on the respected indie Brick, and then jumped to mainstream science fiction by writing and directing Looper, an inventive time travel thriller that starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. It would be hard to imagine him taking on a higher profile challenge than two consecutive Star Wars films. I’ll tell you more when I know it.”

I don’t have a lot of time to write about this now, but I’ll add more more thoughts later this evening. I’ve said it before, and I feel no shame (well, maybe a little) quoting myself:

“… Disney is serious about opening up the Star Wars theatrical features to strong auteurs, and is willing to explore how that universe looks through different lenses.”

UPDATE: According to The Wrap, Johnson is writing and directing Episode VIII, but only writing a treatment for Episode IX. Disney hasn’t confirmed anything yet, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s actually happening. We’ll let you know when the facts start rolling in.