Fans were pretty surprised when news came down that Rian Johnson had apparently turned down the opportunity to write and direct the follow up to his upcoming Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. While it’s a pretty safe bet that Episode IX is in safe hands with JJ Abrams set to return and finish out the new trilogy, we now know why Johnson couldn’t take on the added responsibility.

One of the biggest surprises about him not doing episode IX is that Disney and Lucasfilm seemed to genuinely like him and his work. That is really saying something when you consider the contentious relationship they seem to have had with some of their recent Star Wars directors. It turns out, Lucasfilm wasn’t saying goodbye after all. Today it has been announced that Johnson is tackling a new project for the company. He’s starting a new Star Wars trilogy and will write and direct the first film in the series.

Here’s the complete release:

For director Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just the beginning of his journey in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce.

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.

“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said 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.”

“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.”

Johnson’s upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in U.S. theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.

No release dates have been set for the new films, and no porgs were available for comment.