Rian Johnson is the latest sci-fi filmmaker to join the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.

The ambitious filmmaker behind time-travelling hitman tale Looper, conman caper The Brothers Bloom and teen indie noir Brick is slated to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, according to reports in movie industry publications Deadline, Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Johnson, whose resumé includes directing episodes of acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, is also reportedly in talks to write a treatment for Star Wars: Episode IX, the third upcoming sequel planned for the epic space franchise.

Johnson, whose Looper opened the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, is just the latest rising sci-fi director enlisted for the sprawling slate of new Star Wars films, which will include official instalments to the main storyline as well as stand-alone spin-offs about related characters scheduled to be released in between.

Godzilla's Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank, who helmed Chronicle, were also recently tapped to direct Star Wars projects.

J.J. Abrams, who successfully rebooted the Star Trek film franchise, is currently at work on Star Wars: Episode VII in London. Set about 30 years after the events of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, the first new instalment will mix series newcomers such as Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong'o with actors from the classic films, including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

Ford recently suffered an injury on set and is expected to take eight weeks to recover from a broken leg, with shooting to continue at the famed Pinewood Studios in the meantime.