When J.J. Abrams was brought on to direct 'Star Wars: Episode 7,' and eventually to rework the script with Lawrence Kasdan, he was not guaranteed to work on 'Episode 8' or 'Episode 9' -- that job will be (partly) going to 'Looper' director Rian Johnson!

ScreenCrush spoke to Johnson's rep who confirms that the director will both be directing and writing 'Star Wars: Episode 8' with Ram Bergman producing, as first reported by The Wrap. While an earlier report from Deadline claimed he would also be helming 'Episode 9,' he will in fact only be contributing a story treatment for the final trilogy installment.

Funny enough, when the news broke, Johnson took to Twitter with his response:

This move proves to be another intriguing and smart decision from Lucasfilm and Disney -- Johnson has been one to watch, with his low-budget directorial debut 'Brick' and the more recent 'Looper' establishing him as a master storyteller. Recently, the 'Star Wars' franchise has been bulking up its creative team with directors making waves, with 'Godzilla' helmer Gareth Edwards and 'Chronicle''s Josh Trank directing the first two 'Star Wars' spinoffs.

The new 'Star Wars' trilogy features an immense cast of new and returning players: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong'o, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Dohmnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Max von Sydow.

With 'Star Wars: Episode 7' hitting theaters December 18, 2015, Lucasfilm plans to release 'Episode 8' in 2017 and 'Episode 9' in 2019. The three spinoffs will then be released in between years (2016, 2018 and 2020).

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