Rian Johnson — like Rey (Daisy Ridley, above) in his “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” — is wielding new power within Disney. (Disney/Lucasfilm 2017)

“THE LAST JEDI” isn’t in theaters yet, but its director, Rian Johnson, is already getting a big vote of confidence from Disney.

The studio and the filmmaker have struck a deal to develop a new “Star Wars” trilogy, Disney Chairman Bob Iger announced.

Disney also announced  that a live-action “Star Wars” TV series will air on one of its entertainment streaming services, which is set to go live by the end of 2019.

“We all loved working with Rian on ‘The Last Jedi,’ ” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft ‘The Last Jedi’ from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

For Kennedy, the move looks to bring stability to the franchise’s directing chair after the very public firings of “Star Wars” franchise directors Colin Trevorrow (who was replaced by J.J. Abrams) and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who were replaced by Ron Howard). And on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” director Gareth Edwards was joined by additional filmmakers during late reshoots.

Under the deal, Johnson will write and direct the new trilogy’s first installment and longtime business partner Ram Bergman will produce. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on ‘The Last Jedi,’ ” Johnson and Bergman said in a statement. “ ‘Star Wars’ is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it.”

On the TV side, Iger announced in September that two of Disney’s biggest cinematic franchises, Star Wars and Marvel, would migrate to Disney’s entertainment streaming service, which is being positioned to compete with such services as Netflix.
Read more:

He’s back: J.J. Abrams will replace Colin Trevorrow as director of ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

Opinion: Rian Johnson should take over directing ‘Star Wars’

The first ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ trailer reveals Luke Skywalker as reluctant hero

As the Han Solo spinoff fires its directors, the question is: Can this thing still fly?

Don’t be surprised by Ron Howard directing a ‘Star Wars’ movie. His connection began 45 years ago.


Rian Johnson in April at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)