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Rian Johnson boarding 'Star Wars' franchise as writer and director
Rian Johnson boarding 'Star Wars' franchise as writer and director

"Looper" writer-director Rian Johnson will write and direct "Star Wars: Episode VIII" and pen a treatment for Episode IX, a spokesperson for Johnson confirmed to The Times. Johnson, who broke out as a director at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 with his independent film "Brick," will take over George Lucas' franchise from J.J. Abrams, who is currently shooting "Star Wars: Episode VII" in London. Johnson's producing partner Ram Bergman will join him on the film. The news comes as something of a surprise given the tendency of this franchise -- and other major series' in Hollywood-- to stay with the same director for follow-up...

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