Now that the dust is settling on yesterday’s news about the Disney/Lucasfilm merger and the even more shocking revelation that new ‘Star Wars’ films will be on the way, the question now is who will direct them?
Before we get into the who will/could direct – let’s remove those who are out of the running:
Christopher Nolan – Nolan has a role at Warner Brothers/DC to develop their slates of comic related films. A lot for WB is riding on the success of “Man of Steel” next year that he produced. Nolan might not have a film in development right now but he’s got a job and likely won’t be jumping ships anytime soon. With Nolan’s insistence that ‘Batman ‘is now over, I rather get the impression that he’s tired of doing big budget films for a while. I doubt that he’d want to tackle the biggest franchise beast out there.
Peter Jackson – Peter Jackson is still deep in Hobbit-land. He’s been given one more year to take his 2 films and turn them into a trilogy. Considering that Disney is expecting new ‘Star Wars’ films every couple of years, creatively Jackson would be a nightmare for them to hire. He likes to take his time with making films, a luxury that Lucasfilm no longer has.
JJ Abrams – Abrams is currently in production for the next ‘Star Trek’ movie. There’s enough ignorant confusion out there over the difference between these 2 franchises that the last thing that ‘Star Wars’ would need is to further muddy things by bringing in the ‘Trek’ director. If for no other reason, Abrams is busy and won’t be available for Ep 7.
Joss Whedon – Like Abrams, Joss’s slate is full. He’s just agreed to direct the next ‘Avenger’ film and is currently working his rear off to get ‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ cast and ready to go into production for TV. He’s already working for the Mouse and has no time for other projects.
I’m going to put it out there that Lucasfilm likely won’t be looking for an A list director – they’re expensive and most like those above are highly in demand. I know that Steven Speilberg has said on many occasions that he’d love to direct a ‘Star Wars’ film however, looking at his IMBD slate – he’s currently got EIGHT films in production/pre-production stages PLUS he’s EP on 2 current television shows. Something tells me if they want to bring Steven on, they’re going to have to wait a while.
So this leaves us where?
Harry Potter directors – Any of the folks who worked on the Harry Potter franchise would be prime candidates. Those films were produced at lightning speed in order to make sure that the kids still looked like kids clear through the last film. They know how to handle big FX films and deal with complex storytelling and emotional character growth.
Catherine Hardwicke – I saw someone suggest her as an option somewhere and even though her name was immediately met w/ a million screaming fits from fanboys, I kinda groove on the idea of using the ‘Twilight’ director. A) She’s in post-production on a movie and would be available. B) With ‘Twilight’ she has worked w/ FX and a big budget. C) She worked on the first film which set the tone for the rest of the franchise and launched it. Like the film or not (I’m in the latter group) she could be an interesting choice.
Kevin Smith – So Kevin doesn’t have the directing cred to take over these films, he is however ‘Star Wars” #1 fanboy. Having him on in some sort of an advisory capacity might be a good idea because he really knows the films and loves them all…yes that includes ‘The Phantom Menace.’ It would be nice to have someone on board who truly understands the joy and wonder that comes with loving ‘Star Wars.’
It’s my firm belief that the only way that you’re going to find the next generation of great film directors is to take chances on talented people. The best pool to pick from if you’re looking for someone who can work FAST and knows how to do FX quickly is to look at TV. Whedon & Abrams both started on TV. The best thing about TV directors is that they also would be willing to look for actors who aren’t conventional A-listers as well.
David Nutter – Nutter has one of the most impressive records for creating the BEST pilots on TV. He got his main directing chops from when he worked on ‘The X-Files’ and directed many of that series classic episodes. He also directed the pilots for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Smallville,” “Arrow,” “Supernatural,” and “The Mentalist.” He has also directed two episodes of “Game of Thrones” and is slated to direct the last two episodes of the upcoming season. Nutter is due to make the big move. He’s VERY tight with his storytelling and he knows how to launch franchises by immediately introducing you to characters that you fall in love with.
David Eick/Ronald D. Moore – For some strange reason our two main producers of sci-fi’s most award winning series ‘Battlestar Galactica’ are not busy. Moore keeps trying to get pilots off of the ground but nothing sticks. Eick is currently attached to the “Incredible Hulk” TV series reboot which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The two men who completely reinvented BSG would be primed to move to the big screen. Moore had also worked on ‘Carnival’, ‘Roswell’, and ‘Star Trek Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and The Next Generation’. Unlike Abrams, he is far enough removed from ‘Trek’ that that won’t interfere with people getting confused over the 2 franchises. When it comes to geek-cred, he’s got it in spades. Eick had come from ‘Hercules’ – the two men together make an amazing pair. These two would give the new ‘Star Wars’ films depth. Although BSG got dark, there was a lot of fun in it. These two would come up will killer space battles for us and would make the female characters as equally kickass as their male counterparts. Starbuck really was their female Han Solo, I’d love to see what they could do with smugglers and Jedis.
What are your thoughts and suggestions?