“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen…”
It’s now been almost two years since Disney officially acquired LucasFilm and with it the rights to the Star Wars universe. George Lucas said in his statement that he always believed that Star Wars could live beyond him and that the time was right for the torch to be passed to a new generation of filmmakers. First up was J.J. Abrams, fresh off his successful reboot of Star Trek. Abrams, while not exactly young and new to the industry, has a certain Spielberg-esque quality about the way he makes movies and seemed like the perfect fit for relaunching the Star Wars franchise. Once Abrams was nailed down and he and Lawrence Kasdan began reworking Michael Arndt’s script, little or no other details were announced despite incessant rumours flying around the internet. Earlier this year was really the first time we started to get confirmed information surrounding the new trilogy, with the cast and three new directors being announced. Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) will head up the first spin-off movie with Josh Trank (Chronicle) taking on the second. Rian Johnson (Looper) was also confirmed to be writing and directing Episode VIII and possibly Episode IX. Assuming Johnson won’t be directing Episode IX that leaves the hot seat of one more spin-off and the third instalment of the trilogy still vacant. I thought I might have a stab at who might be next in line.
Having honed his skill writing and directing for US TV shows like Felicity, Matt Reeves struck gold with Cloverfield, the found footage monster flick written by Drew Goddard and produced by J.J. Abrams. His next project was relatively non-Hollywood. Let Me In – the US remake of Swedish vampire-noir Let The Right One In – didn’t do great numbers at the box-office but garnered enough critical acclaim to land him his biggest gig to date, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The sequel of the prequel just recently surpassed $500 million worldwide and I’ve yet to speak to anybody who didn’t like it. With DOTPOTA, Reeves managed to elicit engaging performances from the cast – especially mo-cap legend Andy Serkis – and the action scenes were visually breathtaking. Although his involvement in the third movie in the Apes reboot trilogy hasn’t been confirmed it’s likely he’ll be onboard in some capacity but that shouldn’t hinder any chance of him working on a future Star Wars movie.
Blomkamp is fairly new to this directing malarky with only two feature films to his name so far. His background is in visual effects so it makes sense that sci-fi would be a genre he’d explore. His first feature District 9 – produced by Peter Jackson – blew people away with it’s original approach to the “alien takeover” sub-genre. It was action-packed and poignant but also had a bit of humour in there too. Ironically Gareth Edwards’ debut Monsters was being compared to District 9 when it’s first trailer dropped, albeit on a smaller scope. It was nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, losing out to The Hurt Locker and Precious respectively. It probably would’ve taken the Best Visual Effects award that year had it not been for a certain CGI heavy picture from James Cameron. Blomkamp has shown that he isn’t a one trick pony with his futuristic epic Elysium starring Matt Damon. He has since admitted that he was “gingerly” approached by Simon Kinberg about the possibility of directing a Star Wars movie, which he turned down in favour of working on his own original concepts. But then again J.J also publicly stated that he wouldn’t be directing too so anything could happen.
It’s no secret that Edgar Wright is a massive Star Wars fanboy. Despite last year claiming that the chance of him directing a future Star Wars movie was practically non-existent due to his blatant hatred for the prequels – shown in his Channel 4 sitcom Spaced – his close friendship with Simon Pegg – who in turn has an extremely good working relationship with J.J. Abrams – might end up throwing him a lifeline. I think that if he was given the opportunity he would snap Kathleen Kennedy’s hand off without question. He certainly would be a fan favourites choice, as confirmed by the support he received during the recent Ant-Man fiasco. Unfortunately I don’t think he’d be right for the job based purely on the fact that he has to take the reins from J.J. and Johnson, however there might be an outside chance he could be given the last spin-off movie. Wright is definitely an original auteur, but comedy flows in his veins and his distinct humour might not work in the Star Wars universe unless it was a stand alone.
Jones burst onto the scene back in 2009 with his critically acclaimed debut Moon – which he also cowrote – starring Sam Rockwell as a lonely astronaut overseeing a mining facility in space with only his intelligent computer for company. It was nominated for various awards including two BAFTAs, winning one for Outstanding Debut. Jones’ stock grew further after directing the sci-fi thriller Source Code two years later. Both Moon and Source Code were cleverly written and thought provoking movies proving that despite their visual delights, the story is king, something that a lot of fans thought was missing from the Star Wars prequels. Jones recently wrapped up filming on Warcraft – the big screen adaptation of mega-popular MMORPG World of Warcraft – which is set for release in 2016. If the reaction to the early footage is anything to go by then Warcraft will likely be a huge hit and if Jones doesn’t commit to any big projects after post production is completed then he is ripe for the Episode IX job
Check out 3 more choices on the next page…