With the announcement that Looper’s Rian Johnson is directing Star Wars: Episode VIII, it looks like Disney/Lucasfilm are open to making risky moves in the development of their reinvigorated franchise (even though J.J. Abrams, an obvious choice, is directing the seventh installment). The announcement got my imagination running, and I can’t help but think about the future of the series post-Episode VIII…Episode IX, of course. Here’s nine directors I wouldn’t mind seeing travel to a galaxy far, far away.
9. James Gunn
Gunn may be higher on the list after I see Guardians of the Galaxy (or not on it at all, but I feel like Guardians will be a treat), but for now, I’ll hold off on that. However, Guardians looks like a blast, the perfect summer film, a surprise hit, and a refreshing take on the Marvel cinematic Universe. With Disney owning Marvel and Star Wars, Gunn already has an in with the company. It may just be a matter of whether Guardians does well financially on whether they consider him for such a huge franchise.
8. Drew Goddard
An unlikely choice, but with the Rian Johnson announcement, it feels like anything unlikely could indeed happen. Goddard is responsible for 2012’s surprise hit The Cabin in the Woods, which was his directorial debut. While that “lack of experience” may sound worrisome, fear not: Cabin in the Woods is a great film, jam-packed with the kind of thrilling energy a Star Wars movie desires. Goddard is set-up as the director of the Amazing Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six, but that should be wrapped up by the time the conclusion to the new Star Wars trilogy had to get underway.
7. Doug Liman
Liman is the director of The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper and most recently, Edge of Tomorrow. While Jumper didn’t fare well critically, Edge of Tomorrow is the surprise of the summer, an entertaining-as-hell and creative effort, with even some nice character work, that speaks to his potential to create a Star Wars film. The only problem may be that we didn’t have expectations set for Edge, while Star Wars would have plenty to live up to.
6. Neill Blomkamp
In 2009, I would have said Blomkamp can direct anything he wants to, because at the time District 9 had wowed us. Since then, his reputation has declined a little. Not much, but enough where he’s not at the top of this list. Last year’s Elysium, his follow up to District 9, proved to be a tad disappointing. A good film, but an overall forgettable one, thanks to its setting that resembled District 9 a little too much and characters that well, we didn’t really give a shit about. But I’m still putting Blomkamp on the list. It’s probably mostly due to the fact I still believe in the guy, but if he were to direct a Star Wars film, I’d be at least intrigued. It would be a much different style than Abrams, but so will Johnson I think we can expect.
5. Brad Bird
Bird is the director of some of the best family-friendly, but mature, animated features out there: The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. He already has more than an in with Disney with the latter film mentioned and Ratatouille. He also directed Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, a high-octane joy ride that showed he can direct live-action with the best of ’em. He already has a couple projects lined up, but maybe by the time he had to direct Star Wars 9, his schedule would be free. The Star Wars films have always been family-friendly in nature, but with mature themes. Bird’s style would fit that mold quite well.
4. Matthew Vaughn
Vaughn made waves with his comic book adaptation Kick-Ass, which proved to be the little engine that could. His next project was another super hero film, but this time he toned down the violence and suggestive content and took on the X-Men universe with X-Men: First Class. It was a movie that reinvigorated life into a series that needed it after abysmal movies like X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Both of these movies show Vaughn’s knack for high-energy and excitement, and also his ability to create fun and engrossing characters, something the Star Wars franchise (used to be) all about.
3. Matt Reeves
At first, Reeves may seem like he would be out of his element if he directed a Star Wars film. But I’m sure we’ve thought that of Johnson as well, and I’m sure he’ll bring a creative vision to the series. Reeves sprung onto the scene with Cloverfield, which, love it or hate it, was at least a unique (at the time) take on the monster genre. Then came Let Me In, a film that had so much going against it (being the American remake of the beloved vampire Swedish film Let the Right One In), only to shock critics when it turned out to actually be pretty damn good. Now Reeves is releasing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes soon. It remains to be seen whether the film will be good, but it looks promising and shows Reeves may be able to handle an effects-heavy sequel in a popular franchise. While some would say his style may be too “dark” for a Star Wars film, I think he could bring a unique take on the franchise.
2. Alfonso Curaon
So yes, Cuaron seems like the obvious pick at the moment, having just won the Oscar for best director for Gravity. But think about it: if Cuaron got his hands on a Star Wars movie, it would be unlike any Star Wars movie we’ve ever seen. Cuaron’s vision for things is uncanny, and there’s no doubting the film would be a visual spectacle. And if you’re worried it would be style over substance, remember he also directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which many say is still the best in the series. Depending on the direction they take this new trilogy, Cuaron would be an excellent addition to the array of Star Wars directors. Oh, and tracking shots. Those tracking shots.
1. Michael Bay
Yes, I know what you’re going to say. “What?? That hack? No way!” But hear me out. Bay, despite being known for his explosive, special effects-riddled tendencies that are devoid of plot, has made plenty of memorable movies. The Transformers trilogy shows he can handle an entertaining franchise and–
Okay ya got me. Yes, I am joking. Can you imagine what this shit stain would be like if Michael Bay directed it? Pearl Harbor with space ships. No thank you.
Well, there you have it. Who do YOU think should direct the ninth Star Wars movie following Abrams and Johnson? Sound off in the comments below.