The Force has been somewhat off-balance in recent years. The Star Wars universe, arguably, saw its biggest shift in loyalty in recent memory after the conclusion of the sequel trilogy of films, which began with JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) and ended with Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), with Rian Johnson’s highly divisive Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) sandwiched in the middle. The latter movie saw Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) take on a Jedi Master role to Daisy Ridley’s Rey before she went on to face Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga. It also featured that Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) sequence.
Although the sequel films — which take place years after the Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) movie wrapped up the original trilogy — were a commercial success, for some Star Wars fans it burnt a bridge that George Lucas has been carefully crafting since Star Wars’ inception in 1977. Sure, the prequel films called the story’s direction and casting into question – including the polarizing character of Jar Jar Binks and casting of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader — but not with the ferocity that the sequel Star Wars trilogy faced. Ultimately leading to fans calling for Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to step down.
The latest entry into the Star Wars canon came in the form of The Mandalorian in 2019. Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and produced by Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Dave Filoni and Kennedy, the gunslinging space Western settled some of the Star Wars tension. Led by fan-favorite Pedro Pascal in the eponymous role of the Mandalorian AKA Din Djarin, and spawning a global pop-culture phenomenon in the form of Grogu AKA “Baby Yoda”, the Disney+ television show was a critical and commercial success despite getting wrapped up in the Gina Carano (Cara Dune) social media controversy.
The Mandalorian has spawned three more miniseries events — Ahsoka starring Rosario Dawson, The Book of Boba Fett with original Jango Fett actor Temuera Morrison returning, and Rangers of the New Republic — that all exist within the same timeline. Elements of The Mandalorian almost featured in the sequel trilogy, appearing in Colin Trevorrow’s original Episode IX – The Duel of the Fates leaked script. But, the helm ultimately shifted back to JJ Abrams to close out the Skywalker Saga.
Fans of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi might get to see his return to the Star Wars universe sooner than they think. Of course, there is the reported trilogy that Johnson is set to direct, but new claims suggest that the Knives Out (2019) director might be taking up the helm of an upcoming The Mandalorian Season 3 episode. Johnson’s trilogy is sure to spark conflicting opinions if it does one day make an appearance in the Star Wars galaxy but for now, we can expect Johnson to showcase his directing skill sooner with The Mandalorian.
In a conversation with the director, author Sariah Wilson has recently revealed that she asked the director “if he’d ever consider doing an episode of The Mandalorian”. As expected, Johnson is up for it. She reported:
He said he was dying to, but that for him it’s all about scheduling. He’s been writing KO2 [Knives Out 2] and now he’s going to go directly into filming it. So it would be a matter of finding time to break away to do it.
She went on to say:
He said he has spoken to Dave Filoni about it. He had gone and visited the set during Season 1. He said it was so cool and I told him I was very jealous. He had seen “Baby Yoda” months before the reveal.
finding time to break away and do it. He said he has spoken to Dave Filoni about it. He had gone and visited the set during Season 1. He said it was so cool and I told him I was very jealous. He had seen "Baby Yoda" months before the reveal.
He said it was fascinating seeing
— Sariah Wilson (@sariahwilson) April 17, 2021
It would be a full circle moment if Dave Filoni brought Johnson on board for The Mandalorian Season 3. The Last Jedi director nurtured Filoni’s directing skill on the set of the Star Wars movie sequel before the latter went on to direct two episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1. The roster of directors for The Mandalorian is already remarkable with Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), Thor: Ragnarok’s (2017) Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) having already taken up the reins of the bounty hunter epic.
It would seem all the parts are in place for director Rian Johnson to make his The Mandalorian debut aside from the scheduling contracts with his other projects. Notably, the director secured a huge deal with Netflix that saw his Knives Out movie franchise — along with stars Daniel Craig and Chris Evans — find a home with the streaming giant.
Johnson — and in a way Abrams — is a name that seems to spark immense reaction from the Star Wars fandom and his directing on the now fan-favorite The Mandalorian might scrub up those polarizing views once again. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can fit the Star Wars show into his tight schedule. It will be even more interesting to see what he would do with the already established series and how it would go on to shape the Star Wars franchise.
Do you think Rian Johnson should direct an episode of The Mandalorian?