When Lucasfilm announced that Colin Trevorrow was out as the director of Star Wars: Episode IX last week, we all scrambled to come up with suggestions of who should take over. One obvious choice was Rian Johnson, currently the director of The Last Jedi: he both wrote and directed this year’s movie, so obviously he’s got some experience managing a certain galaxy far, far away. But Johnson himself doesn’t think Episode IX is in the cards for him — at least not right now.

While at a press conference in Japan, Johnson explained that all of his energies are focused on getting The Last Jedi out there.

It was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with it. For me, I was entirely focused on Episode VIII and having this experience and now I’m just thinking of putting the movie out there and seeing how audiences respond to it.

So no, I’m not really thinking about that now. 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.

That last comment — “excited to be an audience member again” — seems to make it pretty clear that not only is Episode IX not on the table for him, he doesn’t really want it to be. Which is fair: Lucasfilm hasn’t hidden the fact that they keep a pretty tight rein on their directors, and working on just one movie of this size has got to be incredibly draining. But, who knows? Maybe, if The Last Jedi is truly exceptional, Johnson can be convinced to come back for another go at it.

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