Rian Johnson and Frank Oz are at it again. Johnson, as you know, will be producing his own Star Wars trilogy unrelated to the Skywalker Saga. Despite rumors of its cancellation, the Star Wars: The Last Jedi director has confirmed that his trilogy is still happening. Hearing that he’s working with Frank Oz, however, may make you wonder if Yoda will tie the new trilogy to the nine-episode Skywalker saga, after all. Not so fast.
Admittedly, Rian Johnson very much enjoyed working with Oz on The Last Jedi. “We had a magical night where Frank came and puppeteered the Yoda,” Johnson had told Slash Film around the time of The Last Jedi’s release. “He’s down there underneath the boards with the headset on watching the monitor down there and doing his magic. And we shot the scene the way they would have back when they did Empire. It’s pretty cool.” This time around, though, they won’t be filming in the galaxy far, far away.
Rian Johnson Reunites with Frank Oz for Knives Out
Rian Johnson has set his Star Wars work aside for the time being (likely not by choice; more on that below). In the meantime, he’s working on Knives Out, a murder mystery film said to be influenced heavily by Agatha Christie. Starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and others, the film is slated for a November 27 release. It will now, apparently, also star Frank Oz.
Oz was initially reluctant to agree to Rian Johnson and take a role in the film, but the director insisted. Oz had this to say to Indie Wire about the request:
He asked me to act in it and I said, ‘Are you out of your friggin’ mind?’ But he wanted me in there. The reason I do those, and I believe every director should do this, is I need to know how frightening it is in front of a camera. And if I screw up, I can learn how to help when I direct an actor. Every director should get in front of the camera and see how frightening it is and how much the actors need you.”
But What About Star Wars?
While the two will renew the connection they made on The Last Jedi, there’s no word on when the new trilogy will begin production. Right now, all eyes are on Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss. They’re rumored to begin production on their new Star Wars trilogy this fall. That, plus rumors of alternating Star Wars and Avatar films, may push Rian Johnson’s trilogy back indefinitely. (Remember, Star Wars and Avatar now both belong to the House of Mouse courtesy of the Fox merger.)
It seems to me Johnson returning to Star Wars remains a bit speculative. Nevertheless, he appears to still be maintaining those Star Wars relationships… just in case.