Who will direct Star Wars?
As everyone in the world must know, either from the internet or from me telling them, is that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm. Also during their announcement they told the us that in 2015 we can expect the release of the long anticipated Star Wars Episode VII which was promised some 35 years ago by Lucas.
Where will the Star Wars franchise head given it's new found ownership?
Some people have been disappointed by this news but I've felt that the vast majority of fans see this as positive especially that we now live in a post-prequel Star Wars world. With Lucas stepping down as the head of Lucasfilm means that he won't have full creative control over the project. In one of the announcement videos it was said that treatments for episodes 7, 8 and 9 had been written as well as there being heaps of stories from the numerous books, video games and comics. This is also really good news as history shows Star Wars episodes that Lucas creates the stories for but doesn't direct are the best (Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi).
So all in all things seem to be looking up for Star Wars fans. And for those worried that the House of Mouse will ruin your favourite childhood heroes we need only look to Marvel and Pixar for reassurance.
So where to go from here?
Well first and foremost the film would be their biggest priority as it's the only area that Lucasfilm isn't currently doing anything.
We've got heaps of games, comics and books as well as The Clone Wars TV series. We're clearly having all of our Star Wars needs met except for the theatrical aspect. Which, personally, I would love to see again on the big screen. And Disney wants to make my dreams come true (and hopefully yours too).
So for me the biggest threat to the awesomeness of a new Star Wars film is who they choose as the writer and who they choose as the director.
I wouldn't want the job to go to one person as I feel the universe is too large to entrust to one creative mind. A script needs to be developed and then a great director needs to come in and take the reins.
Now normally my choice for a film like this the writers would be Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and possibly Damon Lindelof. But both Bad Robot and these writers are already involved with Star Trek and I can't see Paramount being too happy with them working on both franchises. This would also rule out JJ Abrams as director but I'm not sure he'd want to be the man behind films for two separate and competing science fiction franchises. However JJ and Lindelof have an advantage on most other film makers and that's a good working relationship with Disney. LOST was produced for the Disney owned ABC as was the Abrams created 'Alias'. And Lindelof is currently writing 1952 for director Brad Bird which is also in production over at Disney.
Which leads to my next creative team which includes, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and Pixar, director Brad Bird. This team would consist of Bird and Lindelof, which might seem contradictory given that I said that Lindelof's involvement in Star Trek would rule him out, but I do think this is a plausible team. Given that the pair are already working on a project over at Disney could mean that execs might approach the two for the project especially if 1952 hits some roadblocks. It's not uncommon for studios to offer people other projects when the one they're working on doesn't work out. They might also cut a deal with Bird where if he directs Star Wars then they will greenlight his passion project 1906 (which hit roadblocks shortly before Bird was offered Mission Impossible).
The only thing that would stop a Bird/Lindelof team up would be Bird getting the go ahead on one of his other movies or if he didn't want to be known as the guy who directs sequels and holds out for a movie of his own.
My only other thought for a currently employed Disney director would be Andrew Stanton. I don't think it's a far stretch for him to be considered for the job even if it was for episode 8. Stanton as you may well know is the Pixar Director best known for Finding Nemo, Wall-E and of course John Carter. Now even though Carter didn't do as expected I believe that Stanton could make a good case for himself to get the job. Wall-E was a big science fiction film that was fantastic, so clearly he understands the genre. He also worked with Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt on Wall-E who could easily vouch for him over at Lucasfilm. His only hindrance might also be a positive for him. There's no doubt that he stumbled a bit with John Carter and it didn't meet expectations however the film was based on a 100 year old character whose story was written at a time when fantasy and sci-fi weren't as separate as they are today. The story was dated but to do anything differently would have been a disservice to the source material and defeated the purpose of adapting John Carter. With Star Wars he'd be working on an already established franchise and bringing all the sci-fi elements he'd already worked on with Wall-E and he wouldn't have to worry about working with live action as he's done that now.
But these two options probably won’t be the way that they go. This is just the way I hope they go as I like all the people I mentioned immensely as film makers.
Some people have mentioned bigger name directors as people they’d like to take over the franchise like James Cameron and as cool as this would be it would never happen. Directors like that don’t do franchise sequels unless they’ve directed their careers into the poor house. Another director like this is Gore Verbinski who is like Cameron and does his own thing. Though with The Lone Ranger looking like a train wreck that’s going to tank maybe a safe picture like Star Wars might be on the cards for him.
At the end of the day I think the director who will get the job will an up and comer who’s shown they can handle big concepts and big budgets.
Two name’s come to mind.
Rupert Wyatt of Rise of the Planet of the Apes fame and Rian Johnson who directed everybodys favourite sci-fi flick Looper.
They seem like safe choices and have proven that they can deliver money making flicks, another possibility (thinking while writing) is The Grey director Joe Carnahan who famously this year had his Daredevil pitch rejected by Fox.
So to summarize my favourite choices would be anyone involved with Bad Robot Productions such as Abrams, Bird, Lindelof, Orci and Kurtzman as I believe they are the best in the business at the moment when it comes to popular entertainment. I could imagine Stanton getting the offer given his position over at Disney and his previous experience with sci-fi and live action.
But as for who I think will get the job that would be Wyatt, Johnson or Carnahan. The only thing that would stop this from happening would be if a big name director actively sort out the position such as a Ridley Scott or Joss Whedon but this seems unlikely given Scotts commitments to Prometheus sequels and Whedon being tied up at Marvel (unless Disney pulled some strings). Obviously it could be some other director that they already have in mind but these are my best guesses and given recent form I’d say they were fairly educated.
The reason for my article is to spark debate, I wanna know who everyone else wants to direct the film but I wanted to lay out some ground rules as to who it will be. It’s not going to be Cameron, it’s not going to be Michael Bay and it’s not going to be Steven Spielberg. It could be any number of different directors and I’d love to speculate on whose vision we’ll be seeing on the screen in 2015 :D
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