Ever since news broke last week that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm and intends to release a new ‘Star Wars’ movie in 2015, the entire internet has been abuzz with speculation about who would actually make the film, now that George Lucas is out. Rumors abounded this week that ‘X-Men: First Class’ director Matthew Vaughn was in talks for the job, a claim that has now been refuted. In today’s Roundtable, we’ll offer up our suggestions.
It may sound like a fanboy dream (or nightmare, depending on your thoughts), but why not give Kevin Smith a crack at writing the new ‘Star Wars’ movie? Now hear me out… We’re not talking about turning ‘Star Wars’ into some foul-mouthed, sex-crazed movie. Smith has always had a passion for the films and is a regular speaker at the Star Wars Celebrations that take place every year. Having someone who knows and loves the material (and is a pretty good writer to boot) would be an excellent choice to take the franchise in a new direction.
For director, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that Brad Bird is the perfect pick. He already has a close association with Disney via directing the Pixar films ‘The Incredibles‘ and ‘Ratatouille‘, and proved that he could helm a large live-action flick with ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘. A Bird/Smith team on the next trilogy could assure the new films stay loyal to what was best about the prior films, while taking the stories in a great new direction.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
I’d love to see Brad Bird get a crack at a ‘Star Wars’ movie. ‘The Incredibles’ showcases his talent for wide-eyed action and adventure, and Bird has proven himself in the big-budget, live-action arena with ‘Ghost Protocol’. With as deeply integrated as digital wizardry almost certainly will be in any future ‘Star Wars’ sequel, Bird’s experience with both computer animation and live-action could help set him apart from the rest of the pack. George Lucas’ prequels lost sight of characterization, meaningful emotions and… well, kind of everything else amidst all that visual spectacle. I’m sure the director of a film as masterfully crafted, infectiously joyous and gut-wrenchingly emotional as ‘The Iron Giant’ won’t make those same mistakes.
Who would I pick to write and direct the next ‘Star Wars’ movie? Easy. Lawrence Kasdan for the screenplay, Jon Favreau to direct. Tried and true writer of the best installment in the series, director with solid nerd credentials and a track record of surpassing expectations (with enough indie cred to give the production an across the board kick in the ass).
When Disney announced ‘Episode VII’, Brad Bird was the first name on many people’s lips, and for good reason. With ‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘The Incredibles’, Bird showed that he could make the fantastical personal. Those films, along with ‘Ratatouille’, proved that Bird could masterfully balance humor and drama, art and commerce, and create a fun, touching, visually stimulating package. His transition to live action with ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ revealed that his eye for live action was just as sharp as it was for animation, and that his light touch translated perfectly to a big action blockbuster. At this point, Bird’s name on a project is a mark of quality, something that the ‘Star Wars’ franchise desperately needs to regain.
Obviously, the biggest thing missing from the ‘Star Wars’ prequels was a director who could tell a compelling story and get the most out of the cast. I also think that it’s time to break a few eggs. The crucible of troubled production often results in all-time classics. Thus, I would tag three individuals to share direction responsibilities for a new ‘Star Wars’ feature. Alex Proyas should be responsible for delivering interesting and alive worlds through an economy of scenes (not just shots of Coruscant and Naboo), Ben Affleck should ensure that the lead characters can illicit dramatic tension and emotional interest from the audience, and finally Casey Hudson (director of the original ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’, ‘Jade Empire’ and ‘Mass Effect’ videogames) needs to be on board to recapture the essence of ‘Star Wars’ that was so potent in ‘Knights of the Old Republic’. At the very least, having multiple directors would hopefully eliminate the potential of someone like Ridley Scott changing the design of a main alien every day depending on his mood.
M. Enois Duarte
Seeing as how he doesn’t hide being heavily influenced by Spielberg, Lucas and the ’80s filmmaking style in general, I think that J.J. Abrams would be interesting pick to direct the next ‘Star Wars’ installment. With ‘Star Trek into Darkness’ now complete, he has the time to develop something quick with his usual collaborators Damon Lindelof and Alex Kurtzman. Han Solo and Leia Organa are happily married parents to another pair of twins believed to possess magical powers, and as the threat of another Sith empire becomes apparent, the kids’ hermit uncle Luke returns with his crazy nonsense about ancient mysticism and unseen forces. Sure, the story may end up focused on random philosophical thoughts that ultimately go nowhere, but at least the visuals will be totally awesome, filling the screen with lots of CG action and lens flare everywhere.
Can the ‘Star Wars’ franchise even be saved at this point? Between the awful Episodes 1-3 and all of the off-putting tweaks made to the films by George Lucas, I have a hard time believing that it can. Since the release of the “Special Editions,” the existing material has taken so many zigs when it should have zagged. No matter who Disney hires to write and/or direct the next batch of movies, when it comes to making fans adore ‘Star Wars’ again, they’re going to be faced with a near-impossible mountain to climb. Personally, I really don’t think anyone is up to the task.
I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that Brad Bird might make a good director for the next ‘Star Wars’. I can’t believe no one else thought of this!
OK, fine. Let me see what else I can think of.
Once upon a time, David Lynch was offered the directing gig on what was then to be called ‘Revenge of the Jedi’. He turned it down, obviously, but I’m still fascinated by the thought of what perverse grotesqueries he might have brought to George Lucas’ family-friendly universe. Sadly, Lynch jumped his shark several times over with his disastrous ‘Inland Empire‘, and he’s just not the filmmaker he used to be. (Not to mention that there’s still no way he’d want the job anyway.)
Failing that, just hand the franchise reins to Joss Whedon already. He loves science fiction, he can wrangle a lot of characters and storylines, and he’s proven that he can make a mega-budget summer tentpole movie that’s both a lot of fun and (reasonably) intelligent. If he can do for ‘Star Wars’ what he did for Marvel, he’s the perfect man for the job.
Those are our ideas. Which (living) filmmakers do you think should write and/or direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’?
Oh, before I go, it turns out the Conan O’Brien has some idea as well:
I’d pay to see Wes Anderson’s version.