Star Wars Last JEdi

Star Wars fans have theories about what’s going to happen in Solo and next year’s Episode IX, but after that, what exactly the future of Star Wars is going to look like is quite unclear. We know that the Game of Thrones showrunners have been given at least one future film, and Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has a whole, non-Skywalker trilogy to himself. It’s a blank canvas, and in a recent interview, Johnson suggested his finished product might look very different from the Star Wars we’re used to, but it will feel the same in one very important way.

“Really, the only goal I have is to think about how Star Wars made me feel as a kid, and that’s it,” Johnson told Digital Spy in an article published on Tuesday. “I’m trying to capture: What is that, if it’s not iconography, that we recognize, necessarily, from the original trilogy? What captures that spirit? What can be that for a kid who’s never heard of Star Wars? It’s getting back to the very fundamental questions of what makes this what it is.”

Johnson’s comments about looking past the iconography of Star Wars are telling — and encouraging. Star Wars is full of unforgettable images, like the shadow of a giant, triangular Star Destroyer, twin suns and Jedi robes, and the instantly recognizable hiss of an igniting lightsaber. But, as important as those visuals are to the series, Johnson is looking for something beyond just aesthetics that makes that galaxy far, far away so enduring. If Star Wars is going to stay interesting now that we’re getting a movie a year, it needs to find ways to not just be more of the same thing — a box of dusty toys that are rolled out on an annual basis.

He might not have figured out exactly how to do that yet, though, but it’s still early in the process and he’s looking far and wide for inspiration.

“I’m looking at everything right now,” he told Digital Spy “I’m honestly just in this very nice ‘OK, what is this thing going to be?’ phase.”

Given that Johnson was able to find inspiration from the much-maligned prequel trilogy, he’s probably casting a wide net.

Photos via Lucasfilm