Rian Johnson shoots down rumours of Star Wars: Episode IX involvement

The director wants to return to his seat as an audience member for the next Star Wars film.

Filmmaker Rian Johnson has ruled himself out of directing the next Star Wars movie following Colin Trevorrow's recent exit.

Producers at Lucasfilm stunned fans last week (ends08Sep17) by announcing Trevorrow had mutually agreed to walk away from the project, and Johnson was widely thought to have become a frontrunner to take over the reins of Star Wars: Episode IX, after wrapping work on the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth film in the main sci-fi franchise.

However, Johnson has since shot down the reports, claiming he is "really excited to be an audience member again" following The Last Jedi's release this December (17).

Addressing rumours at a press conference in Japan, the Looper director insisted he has no idea who will serve as Trevorrow's replacement.

"It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX, so I don't know what's going to happen with it," he explained.

"For me, I was entirely focused on Episode VIII and having this experience. Now I'm just thinking about putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it. So no, I'm not really thinking about that right now."

Making it clear he wouldn't be stepping behind the camera for another Star Wars epic in the near future, he added, "Whoever does it, I'm going to be really excited to be an audience member again, and to sit down and see what the next filmmaker has to show us and where this story ends up going."

Trevorrow's departure from Episode IX emerged three months after The Lego Movie's Phil Lord and Christopher Miller exited the Han Solo spin-off film due to creative differences.

Ron Howard subsequently stepped in to complete the film, which will star Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo, as well as Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson. It is set for release in May, 2018.

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