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'Looper' director in talks to direct next 'Star Wars' installment

rian johnson reuters.jpg

September 6, 2012. Director Rian Johnson speaks during the news conference for the film "Looper" at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. (Reuters)

While production just began on “Star Wars: Episode VII,” Disney and Lucasfilm are already focusing on Episode VIII. Sources tell Variety that “Looper” director Rian Johnson is in talks to write and direct the next film in the popular series.

Johnson is best known for his sci-fi action pic “Looper” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. The pic overperformed at the box office bringing in $176 million worldwide. He also directed several episodes of “Breaking Bad” last season.

Ram Bergman will produce with Johnson.

The Johnson news comes after the company tapped Garreth Edwards and Josh Trank to direct two stand-alone “Star Wars” films.

J.J. Abrams is currently directing the next “Star Wars,” which is filming in London, and sources add that cast and crew were becoming aware that this would probably be the only installment Abrams would be directing.

Johnson has been looking for his next project since “Looper” and was even at one point rumored to be on the shortlist to direct the next “Star Trek.”

He is repped by CAA. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

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