'Star Wars' Enlists Rian Johnson to Direct 'Episode VIII'

'Looper' director tweets video asking, "Dear Lord, please don't let me f--- up"

Rian Johnson, Star Wars
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Rian Johnson
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Rian Johnson's dive into science fiction with 2012's Looper will serve him well on a much bigger project, as the director will take on Episode VIII of the upcoming Star Wars series.

Initial reports had also attached Johnson to direct Episode IX, though it was later confirmed that he would only write the treatment to that film, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Rather than giving a statement, Johnson tweeted a scene from the outer space classic The Right Stuff in which Scott Glenn, as astronaut Alan Shepard, says, "Dear Lord, please don't let me fuck up."

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Johnson's résumé is brief, but influential. He first attracted notice with his 2005 teenage film noir update Brick before returning in 2008 with the crime comedy The Brothers Bloom. His last film, Looper, paired Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Bruce Willis about an assassin hired to go back in time to unwittingly kill his younger self. He also earned a Directors Guild of America Award for directing three episodes of Breaking Bad.

Production recently began on the first new Star Wars film, Episode VII, with J.J. Abrams at the helm. While details for any Abrams film are notoriously scarce, kernels of info have trickled out. The series' original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will all return to the new films alongside Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong'o, Max von Sydow and Andy Serkis. "It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again," Abrams said at the time.

Last month, it was confirmed that Episode VII was shooting in Abu Dhabi, leading to reports that director J.J. Abrams is attempting to re-create the desert landscapes of Luke Skywalker's home planet, Tatooine. The film takes place 30 years after the story in 1983's Return of the Jedi. Along with directing the Disney and Lucasfilm-produced picture, Abrams also serves as co-writer with Lucasfilm veteran Lawrence Kasdan, replacing original scribe Michael Arndt.

It's been a busy month for Star Wars directors. Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) was tapped as the first filmmaker for a series of spinoff films, while director Josh Trank (Chronicle) will also helm one of the stand-alone films seven years after his 85-second, Star Wars-inspired short Stabbing at Leia's.

Episode VII, produced by Disney and Lucasfilm, is scheduled to hit theaters on December 18th, 2015.

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