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Star Wars sequels, directors lined up through 2018

Disney has tapped director Rian Johnson to helm the next two Star Wars episodes.

Production may have just begun on Star Wars: Episode VII, but Disney isn’t resting on its laurels yet. Variety reports that director Rian Johnson is in talks to write and direct episodes VIII and IX.

The announcement comes on the heels of Disney announcing plans for two Star Wars spinoff films, which will hit theaters between episodes.

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Johnson made sci-fi waves in 2012 with his time-travel action flick Looper. The film starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young Bruce Willis, forced to face the mob after they send his older self back in time to be murdered.

Few details are known about the spinoffs, with Disney explaining only that it will focus on individual Star Wars characters. Spinoffs have become somewhat of a recent craze in Hollywood, the most notable trendsetter being the X-Men franchise, which has produced two Wolverine films and the just-announced Channing Tatum vehicle Gambit.

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Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is signed on to direct the first as-yet-untitled Star Wars spinoff, which is slated for release in 2016, with director Josh Trank (Chronicle) set to direct the second stand-alone project for 2018.

Episode VII is currently filming in London with J.J. Abrams directing and will open in 2015.

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