Yes, The Last Jedi litigation continues nearly five full years after the film’s debut, in October 2022. Whether you like it or not, there’s no doubt that Rian Johnson’s second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy holds a special place in people’s minds—something that cannot be claimed for even The Rise of Skywalker.
In fact, Lucasfilm had such confidence in Johnson’s ability to execute his vision that, just before The Last Jedi hit theatres in 2017, producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed that Johnson would be directing an entirely new trilogy apart from the Skywalker narrative.
Johnson’s trilogy was still in print years after the movie came out and sparked a debate over whether it revived or trampled on George Lucas’ vision. But in recent years, it has seemed less and less probable that the films will be released.
Not only has Johnson focused on the exploits of Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc in the films Knives Out, Glass Onion, and an untitled third installment, but Lucasfilm has been reducing the number of films it plans to release on the big screen and delaying projects like Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron and Taika Waititi’s enigmatic Star Wars movie.
Johnson has expressed interest in continuing to work in the Star Wars world, saying, “It would break my heart if I were finished if I couldn’t get back in that sandbox at some point.” According to Johnson, the issue is “a matter of schedule and when it can happen,” not money or intention.
In a recent interview with Variety, he reiterated this sentiment and said that he has “spoken to Kathy [Kathleen Kennedy] about it and we’re still talking about it…
Making The Last Jedi was such an incredible experience for me. It is solely a scheduling issue. I’m not sure what would happen if I put [Glass Onion] out and made the next one of them.
Johnson’s allegations were supported by Kennedy in an earlier interview with Empire, who assured readers that “we love him” and blamed the delay on routine business matters and a production timeline that needs them to “work three, five years in advance.”
Actually, the fact that Johnson’s film is still a possibility shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Even while The Last Jedi is undoubtedly contentious, the movie still brought in $1.3 billion at the box office. Additionally, Star Wars has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for repurposing and elevating even previously derided elements of its property.
Initially derided for its kid-friendly Ewoks and “mishandling” of Han Solo, Return of the Jedi is now an essential component of the whole story. Hayden Christensen, who was previously openly jeered for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker, received applause when he made a comeback as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
More importantly, Johnson’s contributions are no longer as significant because the Star Wars world has expanded to include a larger range of works. Just this year, we’ve had political theory discussions in Andor, the nostalgic plays of Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett, and the animated anthology Tales of the Jedi will be released later this month.
Johnson’s trilogy, however it may be, won’t ruin the entire franchise, even those who detest what he did to Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. Simply put, the fight is much bigger than any good or ill that one person may have done. Hey, perhaps a Star Wars movie with that subject will be produced. Everyone will adore it, I bet!
On November 23, Johnson’s Glass Onion will have a limited theatrical run before making its Netflix debut on December 23.