Now that Disney has purchased the Star Wars franchise, and plans for Episode 7 have been announced, it seems as though the entire internet is abuzz about who will be the driving force behind it. With the world of movies rapidly changing, directors have been getting more and more attention as of late.
Just like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg before them, today there are a new breed of revolutionary directors making inroads not just in comic and fantasy movies, but the world of film in general.
First, let’s get one thing straight. Disney taking over Star Wars is a good thing. The franchise has suffered endless blowback from the fans and critics, mainly due to George Lucas’ repeatedly thumbing his nose at the world through his once glorious creation. Those screaming disaster should relax. Disney knows how to make movies for every audience nowadays. No one is going to be bursting out into song, unless someone decides to remake the Star Wars Holiday Special.
After successfully rebooting the Star Trek franchise, many considered J.J. Abrams to be one of the early favorites for Star Wars. Last week Abrams announced to the world that he would not seek or accept the job of helming future installments of Star Wars. Unlike Star Trek, Abrams said that he was a fan of Star Wars growing up, and would prefer to sit and watch rather than to get involved.
So, who would be a good choice to step into something so monumental? Who is talented and brave enough to try and continue on a franchise with one of the most loyal and ravenous fan bases?
First, before deciding who could do this series right, we have to say that there are several big name directors who should not be allowed to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Steven Spielberg is too close to Lucas, and too inclined to shoot himself in the foot with his overly sappy style. Sam Raimi and Michael Bay are too reliant on shallow plotlines, vapid female leads, and cheesy effects to take the project seriously.
Putting someone like Tim Burton into the drivers seat could lead to more mass suicides than the Mayans and their pesky calendars. Joss Whedon has the Sci-Fi street cred, but could ruin it with too many effects and incredibly cheesy dialogue, like The Avengers. (That’s right America, come get me!)
David Fincher would probably be more than capable enough for the project, but might actually take the series to a dark place that would make The Empire Strikes Back seem lighthearted.
With that out of the way, here are the top five choices that could do this incredible legacy justice.
5. Bryan Singer
The Usual Suspects, X2, Superman Returns, Valkyrie
The franchise pick, Bryan Singer was brought into the X-Men universe with X-Men, X2, and later to produce X-Men: First Class, the latter two among the most acclaimed movies in the franchise so far. Singer knows how to cast great actors and knows when to let them do their thing. Singer would probably be able to pick very good actors for the roles, especially if they set the new movies during a point in the timeline where actors like Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are too old to play them.
4. Kathryn Bigelow
Strange Days, K19: The Widowmaker, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow's grit and realism could bring a fresh perspective to a franchise that has become almost too dependent on special effects. One thing that people should realize is that the greatest directors in Hollywood are usually not the ones that operate in some small niche. Tapping Bigelow for the movie would show that Disney is serious about bringing the franchise into the modern era. Bigelow also could do a wonderful job bringing out the human element in the series, much like J.J. Abrams was able to do with 2009’s Star Trek. Her movies often feature tortured characters, which could be perfect if Luke Skywalker is indeed going to be the focus.
3. Daron Aronofsky
Requiem For a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan
The wild card pick, Daron Aronofsky could be the one to help bring a sense of real mysticism to the aging franchise. He can do it all without throwing everything behind CGI. With movies like The Fountain and Black Swan, we saw how Aronofsky could get inside ones head and imagination. The villains in his movies are real, and that's why they are so scary. He could make everyone believe that the characters are real again, something that fans sometimes had a hard time with during the new trilogy.
2. Christopher Nolan
The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises
The current master. Christopher Nolan’s influence is blatantly evident in almost every new action and science fiction movie these days. The trailers for both Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness show the Nolan effect in full swing. Like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg before him, Nolan’s influence will be felt for a generation. Like Kathryn Bigelow, Nolan knows how to pick the right people for every role he directs. He also knows how to draw the audience in with incredible filmmaking skill that is currently almost unparalleled. Star Wars purists may not be initially happy, speculating (foolishly) that the next Sith lord will look like Batman. However, Nolan showed an incredibly loyalty to the true nature of Batman. While he tweaked some things to bring it into the "real world." While Star Wars is much more of a pure fantasy, Nolan would no doubt show the same dedication to the brand.
1. An Unknown / Up-an-Comer
Why not? Who says that the future of Star Wars has to be placed in the hands of an established director? Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson, J.j. Abrams and Christopher Nolan were all once nobody’s until someone gave them a chance with a big project. The ideal Star Wars director might be somebody who has a completely fresh perspective.
Two minutes after J.J. Abrams announced he was not interested in directing Episode 7, the internet was already ablaze with people thanking god that “lens flare” would not be seen behind Luke Skywalker. When even a brilliant director has a reputation, people always envision that they will not be able to help themselves.
Nevermind that someone like Nolan was able to make both The Dark Knight and Memento, or that Arononsky was able to jump from The Fountain to The Wrestler. People tend to remember the one thing about an artist that they cannot stand. It’s not fair, but it’s true.
Somewhere out there could be lurking a director that has the skills and courage to dive into this series that is desperately in need of some new life. One thing for certain is that it was time for Lucas to step aside. All we need now is for someone truly fearless to step in, like Nicholas Meyer did with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.