Easily the biggest bit of news announced in years, the film world is still enraptured by the recent reveal that not only did Disney buy up the company known as LucasFilm, but that they fully plan on releasing a brand new entry in the Star Wars franchise by the year 2015. That’s right, in a year that already would give us Avengers 2 and The Justice League, is now set to give us Star Wars Episode 7.
However, with a release looming on the horizon, it’s about high time that the House Of Mouse finds out who will be the filmmaking force behind the project. But with a sea of filmmakers without a doubt chomping at the bit to get their grubby hands all over this sequel, who will they choose? Here are five names that are likely at the very top of that list, and a few reasons why they more than deserve the gig.
5. Kenneth Branagh or Joe Johnston
Now, with most of the film world requesting that the one member from the Marvel Universe’s collection of directors that would be given the keys to the castle be Joss Whedon, not only is he far too busy with his upcoming Avengers 2 (as well as, well, frankly mapping out the entire universe’s filmography), but he may be the wrong choice. Directors Joe Johnston and Kenneth Branagh are both better connected to the franchise and also more fitted for it. Johnston, a former Lucas employee, was directly involved in the look and design of both Star Wars and Indiana Jones (the latter won him an Oscar) and is also just the type of broad-stroke-directing filmmaker that would fit perfectly in this space-Western universe. Then there is Branagh, who may not be connected to Lucasfilm, but is a perfectly lavish and Shakespearean a filmmaker to do this type of operatic trilogy the justice it deserves. Both are beloved by Marvel for crafting two of their very best feature films, and with neither of them returning for their sequels, their books are a bit more open now. Toss in John Favreau too, if Magic Kingdom falls apart.
4. Joe Cornish
The most out-of-the-box choice here. Having made a solid feature in Attack The Block, his bunk buddy Edgar Wright is in the Disney/Marvel ranks being behind their upcoming Ant-Man feature, and with that taking up all of Wright’s time, Disney could do worse than give over the ranks to someone like Cornish. I myself wasn’t entirely sold on Attack The Block, but it is a fine bit of science fiction, and is a superbly crafted action film, something that would be nice to have behind a new film in this universe. The freshest of face to have behind the camera, this would be a really exciting pick, adding some definite intrigue into the proceedings.
3. Brad Bird or Andrew Stanton
Directly involved with Disney through their work at Pixar, the pair of Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton were the very first names to pop into the minds of many cinephiles when this news was announced. The latter may be hard at work on Finding Nemo 2, so his involvement seems unlikely, but Brad Bird may very well be the first and only choice for a studio looking to give us a new take on the universe. Neither are the biggest name filmmakers in the film world, particularly Stanton, but for a franchise like Star Wars the marketing starts and ends with the film’s title. Bird hit huge with his work on Mission Impossible 4, and while John Carter didn’t win over crowds, it was a fine and entertaining sci-fi romp. Both would be perfect fits for this project.
2. Gore Verbinski
Truly the studio’s one and only choice. Easily their most trusted live action director, Verbinski will next be behind the studio’s major tentpole The Lone Ranger, and he was instrumental in making the Pirates franchise the box office busting series that it ultimately became. A truly superb filmmaker, his blending of action, comedy and character is something that made the original trilogy so damn memorable. One would assume that Disney will be looking to their entire writing team, including Verbinski’s best friends Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, so don’t be shocked if the studio reveals that Mr. Verbinski will have his eyes behind the lens for this sucker.
The auteur’s choice. It remains to be seen when Fincher’s Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, will see the light of day, and if it is delayed by the studio, Fincher could possibly take on the company’s next monster tentpole. Sure, his sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is imminent, but with his involvement in that project already on edge, the possibility of taking on a new Star Wars film may be just too great to pass up. Remember, it was long rumored that he was given a shot at helming a prequel, so there may very well be some unfinished business here. Could also include Frank Darabont in this collection, as he too was a candidate for a prequel gig.