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'Looper' director Rian Johnson is making 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'

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All eyes are on J.J. Abrams as he films Star Wars: Episode VII, but Deadline and The Wrap are reporting that Rian Johnson is the latest filmmaker to join the universe. According to the reports, Lucasfilm is in the midst of making a deal with the filmmaker to both write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. He is also said to be writing the treatment for Episode IX.

Johnson showed off his sci-fi chops in the time-travel drama Looper, but his other films have tackled different genres. His debut feature Brick was a high-school riff on classic film noir, while The Brothers Bloom was a madcap comedy that featured Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody. In our in-depth interview with the filmmaker in 2012, he mentioned that working on a studio feature was something he was looking forward to at some point in his career. The Star Wars franchise will certainly give him that chance.

The news also seems to be a good sign as to the state of Episode VII. Johnson has been very particular about choosing projects — he was rumored to be in the running for the new Terminator reboot — and that fact that he has jumped on to Star Wars would seem to indicate that he feels he'll be picking up from a strong entry by Abrams. Neither the director nor Lucasfilm have confirmed the news as of yet, but Johnson did post a brief tongue-in-cheek movie clip from The Right Stuff on Twitter after reports first broke. It consists of actor Scott Glenn as astronaut Alan Sheppard, saying a simple prayer: "Dear Lord, please don't let me fuck up."