'Star Wars: Episode VII' - Who Should Direct the Sequel?
The minute after it was announced that Walt Disney Pictures’ purchase of LucasFilm would result in the release of Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015, fans flooded social media with hopeful suggestions on who should be hired to shepherd what sounds like the start of a brand new trilogy.
Even more than potential casting, the hiring of a director for a new Star Wars movie will drive the aesthetic of this next phase of films. Does the new company go out and get a digital wizard who can carry the torch of George Lucas’ shiny prequel trilogy? Do they go in the complete opposite direction by finding a hands-on, realistic filmmaker who can ground the science-fiction in ways Lucas’ original trilogy managed to do? Will the new Star Wars movies by character-driven dramas, or effects-driven blockbusters constructed to peddle more toys?
These are crucial questions that need to be answered in the coming months, so we figured we’d do pour part and throw out the five directors we’d love to see behind the camera on the seventh Star Wars movie. We’ve picked them for different reasons, which we try to explain below. Do you agree with any of them? Is there someone that we left out? Let us know in the comments section. For now, the director of Star Wars: Episode VII should be:
1. Neill Blomkamp
A no-brainer. The South African filmmaker spun sci-fi gold out of “straw” (i.e. – a limited budget) for the fantastic District 9, and we’re hearing amazing things about his next picture, Elysium. He’s a sci-fi director who does not sacrifice character for effects (though he’s extremely competent in both fields of play). His scheduling lines up well, as he could be coming off of post-production on Elysium right as the Star Wars sequel is ready to gear up. Hiring Blomkamp for the next Star Wars movie would be a dream come true.
2. J.J. Abrams
Could the man who saved Star Trek (and rescued the Mission: Impossible franchise) do the same for Star Wars? It’s wholly possible. Abrams knows his way around effects-driven sci-fi, and proved with Trek that he’s not afraid to tinker with the collective memories of passionate fanboys if it’s in service of a story he actively supports. He’s friends with Steven Spielberg. He’s wrapping up Star Trek Into Darkness. If Abrams could get the new Star Wars trilogy off onto a strong foot, geek monuments would be erected in his honor for decades to come.
3. Duncan Jones
Another sci-fi veteran who has shown he can work with a minimalistic budget (as he did in the stellar Moon) as well as the expectations of a larger, star-driven vehicle (as he did with Source Code). Jones is a self-professed science-fiction nerd – having David Bowie, aka “Ziggy Stardust,” as a dad can do that to a man – who built a reputation as a gifted storyteller with his first two features. He reportedly has been shopped for major franchise gigs, from Man of Steel to The Wolverine. He’s currently prepping a sci-fi story called Mute, but you can bet that would be bagged if Star Wars were dangled like a carrot.
4. Ben Affleck
My “out-of-left-field” selection. But think about it. Affleck adores the grit and scratch of ‘70s cinema, and the original Star Wars trilogy fits that mold. He’s familiar with the ins and outs of tentpole franchises, having carried more than a few in his day. He also has a nose for science-fiction, a genre he has explored through various roles in the past. Affleck has proven he can direct. He could even recruit his old pal Kevin Smith, a bona-fide Star Wars junkie, for script rewrites. (That’s not a joke.) I’m not saying it will happen, but if Affleck were handed the Star Wars franchise, I certainly wouldn’t complain.
5. Genndy Tartakovsky
In 2003, animator Genndy Tartakovsky co-created an animated Clone Wars series for Cartoon Network. It was a smash hit with most fans. Since, Tartakovsky has stayed busy, most notably with the recent Hotel Transylvania, which made serious bank at the box office. Having him try his hand at live-action isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Just ask Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton, two animators who recently made the leap to live-action (with varying degrees of success). He knows how stuff. He’s a friend of the LucasFilm family. Tartakovsky just might be the man for the job.
Who else? A total newcomer? A veteran Hollywood presence? The choices are infinite, and the selection is vital. Let’s see who we get.
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.
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