Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson has signed on to create a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm announced Thursday.
Johnson will write and direct the first installment, with his longtime collaborator Ram Bergman on-board to produce.
The studio said the new films will follow the space adventures of characters who do not appear in the nine-movie Skywalker saga. No casting or release dates have been disclosed.
"We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi," Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. "Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can't wait to continue with this new series of films."
"We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi," added Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. "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."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Skywalker franchise, is to open in U.S. theaters on Dec. 15. The Skywalker saga will conclude with Star Wars Episode IX in 2019. Johnson's new trilogy will be separate from this series.