There had been an assumption that when JJ Abrams signed up to make Star Wars Episode VI, he would also make part VII and IX too. However it turns out he won’t, as it’s been announced that Looper and Brick director Rian Johnson has been hired to write and helm Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX, according to Deadline.
It’s not clear why Abrams isn’t returning, but there’s speculation that while Disney wants Episodes VII and IX in 2017 and 2019, JJ’s tends to like to take his time putting all the pieces in place, so either he or Lucasfilm could have been worried he’d be unable to hit those deadline.
Johnson will also write the movies, which will be his primary focus for the next several years.
Abrams is currently on set helming Star Wars: Episode VII, with Josh Trank (The Fantastic Four) and Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) recently hired to direct to direct Star Wars spin-off movies, which will be released in the years between new instalments of the central story arc.