Rian Craig Johnson (born December 17, 1973) is an American film and television director, producer, and writer.
He seems to often cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Noah Segan for roles, even if it is just for a cameo appearance. He is also known for directing Looper and a trio of Breaking Bad episodes — one of them being "Ozymandias", which has been hailed by critics and audiences as one of the greatest episodes of television ever made.
He is One of Us, since apparently he likes Game of Thrones, and is interested in working on Doctor Who. He directed Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, and was later hired to develop a new trilogy of films unrelated to the Skywalker Saga before the release of the film. However, his trilogy is currently in Development Hell as of 2021. He is also known for his acclaimed mystery films Brick, and Knives Out.
- Brick (2005)
- The Brothers Bloom (2008)
- Breaking Bad (2010, "Fly"; 2012, "Fifty-One"; 2013, "Ozymandias")
- Looper (2012)
- Star Wars - Episode VII: The Last Jedi (2017)
- Knives Out (2019)
- Poker Face (Peacock TV series; TBA)
Tropes applying to his works include:
- Anachronism Stew: Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper and Knives Out all feature this to varying degrees, bordering on Ambiguous Time Period. In the first it's part of the Film Noir homage. In the second it's to give the film the feel of a timeless tale. In the third it's to establish how impoverished the characters in the future are. In the last its because hes setting an Agatha Christie-style mystery in the Present Day.
- The Cameo: In Rogue One, as a Death Star technician working on the superlaser during the single-reaction ignition sequence. Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, meanwhile, had a cameo as a Resistance soldier on Crait in Johnson's The Last Jedi.
- Deconstruction: The Last Jedi is a deconstruction of several Star Wars tropes and characters, most prominently the idea that just because you're fighting bad people doesn't make you unambiguously heroic, the fact that as long as there are Jedi, there are going to be Dark Side users opposing them (thus making things worse), the idea that you have to be special to learn and use the force and the whole idea of Luke Skywalker being a wise and nearly flawless hero thirty years after leading the Rebellion to victory after the Battle of Endor.
- Production Posse:
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Noah Segan regularly appear in Johnson's films. (Most of the lead cast of Brick manages a cameo during the party scene in The Brothers Bloomnote , a trick Johnson laments he could only pull off once). Gordon-Levitt is notably absent from Knives Out, however, apart from a brief voice cameo.
- Steve Yeldin has served as cinematographer on each of Johnson's films. Nathan Johnson, Rian's cousin, has composed each of his films besides The Last Jedinote . Bob Ducsay has edited all of Johnson's films besides Brick and The Brothers Bloom.
- Signature Style: He loves using a quirky directing/editing style, which involves off-kilter camera angles/composition, fast-paced dynamic camerawork, rapid-fire editing, and quick pans. LOTS of quick pans. He even used this style in The Last Jedi.
- Subverted Trope: About The Last Jedi, he admitted himself wanting to subvert the audience's expectations regarding the followup to many things J. J. Abrams set up in The Force Awakens, such as Luke being full of Heroic Self-Deprecation and the Broken Pedestal when Rey meets him instead of a more classic Old Master who's ready to keep the Master-Apprentice Chain up (however, this could be thought of as following through with Abrams's set-up of Luke disappearing to an island in the middle of nowhere). Then there were the massive expectations regarding Rey's Mysterious Past... and it's revealed she's the daughter of nobodies — or at least that's what Kylo Ren said. It's pretty safe to say the following developments in The Rise of Skywalker had no input from Johnson.
- Trolling Creator: In July 2016, when finalizing The Last Jedi, Johnson tweeted a photo of himself holding a sign saying "Your Snoke theories suck", alluding to the abundant Fanon that followed the release of The Force Awakens. Snoke gets killed off in The Last Jedi without anything to explain his backstory whatsoever.