Thursday, brought a lot of news for “Star Wars” fans.
The news brought the likely excitement from the franchise’s loyal fanbase, but let’s take a second to delve into who Rian Johnson is, the director who will be taking the reigns of the original franchise after J.J. Abrams’ “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” is released in December.
If you don’t live and breath all things The Force, you probably didn’t know that just under nine months ago news broke that Johnson would not only write and direct “Episode VIII” but “Episode IX” as well.
While Johnson has been quiet about the whole thing, yesterday’s announcement proved that at least half of that news was correct.
And Johnson had some fun with it on Twitter:
Soon after though, he finally fessed up:
Seriously, huge thanks for the kind words of support. Having the time of my life, CANNOT WAIT for you all to see the good stuff cookin up.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) March 12, 2015
Most fans were excited when J.J. Abrams announced he’d be directing “Episode VII,” as it confirmed that Disney was serious about bringing new voices into the “Star Wars” universe, once completely controlled by its creator George Lucas.
But the news of Johnson taking the reigns following Abrams brought universal acceptance.
Here’s five reasons why you should be too.
1. His debut feature was incredible
Johnson, 41, was born in Maryland but grew up in San Clemente, California and it would be that area and his love of Dashiell Hammett detective stories that would bring to life his feature length debut, “Brick.”
Made for only $US500,000 and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Johnson combined film noir, drugs, and the drama of high school life to create a fantastically fresh genre movie within the modern-day teen world. Gordon-Levitt gets all gumshoe and shakes things up through the different cliques of a San Clemente high school as he tries to uncover the death of his ex-girlfriend.
2. The visuals in his films are striking
Though immediately grabbing is the dialogue is completely 1930s hardboiled detective slang, the film also showed that Johnson has a unique visual eye as “Brick” is full of beautiful imagery.
The film would garner Johnson instant acclaim and a “Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision” at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
3. He knows how to work with big-name talent.
Three years later, Johnson worked on a large-budgeted con movie titled “The Brothers Bloom.” The film starred Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as brothers who specialize in running scams on millionaires. Up for one final job, Rachel Weisz plays the mark, but the brothers soon realise she’s got her own agenda.
While it received mixed reviews by critics, the film did prove that Johnson could work with name actors, take on multiple lush locations, and pull off action sequences.
4. He’s directed two of the most memorable “Breaking Bad” episodes
In 2010, Johnson once more elevated his notoriety in the industry when he began directing episodes of “Breaking Bad.” He directed three total including the polarising “Fly” episode and the third-to-last episode of the show, “Ozymandias,” which some consider the best episode of the whole series, including series creator Vice Gilligan.
Once more his visual techniques shined, especially in “Fly,” which takes place mostly in Walter and Jesse’s underground meth lab in season three and includes the POV of a fly trapped in the lab.
5. The fanboys already love him
In 2012, Johnson’s cred in the sci-fi world shot through the roof with the release of “Looper.”
Messing with our heads thanks to an elaborate time travel story, we follow Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an assassin known as a looper, who offs people at the whim of his mob bosses from the future. But when he realises they have sent back his future self (Bruce Willis) to kill, things get complicated.
With “Looper,” Johnson elevated to world building, creating a “Blade Runner”-like future.
The visuals, as we’ve become accustomed to in his films, are beautiful and he uses more CGI than in the past.
Here, he also began working with make-up, specifically getting Gordon-Levitt to look more like a young Willis.
He likely didn’t think this at the time, but the film has elements that proves he’s capable of taking on “Star Wars.”
With this body of work, we are pretty excited with what he’ll be bringing to “Star Wars.” We don’t know what “Episode VIII” is about yet, but we’ll keep you posted once production begins.
The film will be released May 26, 2017.
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