During a conversation at the BFI London Film Festival, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson told an audience that he was not going off the reservation when he made decisions about the story of his film, and that he was in constant contact with J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm about the events of the movie and how they would play into the larger story that will end later this year in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the "Skywalker Saga" and ninth episode in the decades-long Star Wars story arc and the start of the post-Skywalker status quo for Disney's franchise.
According to filmmaker J.J. Abrams, who directed the movies before and after Johnson's installment, those plans have remained largely the same since he and Lucasfilm first created an arc for the end of the Skywalker Saga. It shouldn't, then, be much of a surprise that Johnson was in constant contact with the brain trust.
"The ending is the ending. It's really been a bit unusual in that the editing process, much of what we have in the third act is exactly what we always had. And that's not always the case. A lot of times you're like, 'The ending doesn't quite...' That's not the thing that we've been playing with," Abrams explained at D23 Expo.
At Rian's talk last night at the BFI he said that he had had many long discussions with JJ about TLJ. He wanted to make a movie that worked on its own merits but also had to take the whole trilogy into account.— Kira Lin (@KiraLin4ever19) October 9, 2019
No details of the new SW films but he is in discussion with Lucasfilm. He is a SW fan from boyhood. Luke was his hero. he said 'that little boy with the broom at the end was me'— Kira Lin (@KiraLin4ever19) October 9, 2019
"I never found myself trying to repair anything," Abrams said in a recent interview. "If I had done VIII, I would have done things differently, just as Rian would have done things differently if he had done VII. But having worked on television series, I was accustomed to creating stories and characters that then were run by other people. If you're willing to walk away from the thing that you created and you believe it's in trustworthy hands, you have to accept that some of the decisions being made are not gonna be the same that you would make. And if you come back into it, you have to honor what's been done."
For their part, Disney is betting huge on Star Wars right now. The Mandalorian will debut in November with the launch of Disney+, and that same month, a game titled Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be available for gaming consoles. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be in theaters this December, wrapping up the "Skywalker Saga" that began with the original Star Wars in 1977. While Disney and Lucasfilm will be working with Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige on a new Star Wars project soon, we haven't heard any credible reporting that the studio is planning to work with the New York Times.